Save of the night: Ryan Miller robs fellow American Bobby Ryan

They may be fellow countrymen but when they’re opponents on the ice, all’s fair in love and war. Such is the case for Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan who found out what it’s like to be facing Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller last night in Buffalo.

Ryan was perched near the far post as the Ducks were threatening and as his teammate Ryan Getzlaf (jeez, can we get a few more Ryans involved?) fired a quick no-look one-timer pass between his own legs across the goal mouth to the eager and waiting Bobby Ryan. Ryan’s attempt was handled by Miller who went post to post to make the stop, a true beauty all around.

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Must-see video: Bobby Ryan scores a goal with Mikko Koivu’s stick

Perhaps the most fun moment on the ice in the NHL this season occurred in last night’s Ducks-Wild game in Anaheim. After a race to get the puck in the Minnesota end, Wild captain Mikko Koivu lost his stick going for it in the corner . Getting the stick knocked out of your hands isn’t all that rare of an occurrence, but Koivu’s way of quickly getting a new stick to defend with was. His answer to getting a new stick was to “accidentally” grab Ducks star forward Bobby Ryan’s stick out of his hands.

With Koivu’s stick still laying on the ice and Ryan in need of a new piece of timber to help keep the offensive pressure up, he picked up Koivu’s downed stick. Wouldn’t you know it, the Ducks get a shot on a goal and the rebound came right to him to bury the puck in the net to give Anaheim a 5-2 lead. Ryan held up Koivu’s stick as if he was The Highlander to show him just what he had scored with, obviously still peeved, yet entertained, about having his stick literally taken out of his hands.

Making things even more amazing is that Koivu is a left-handed shot while Ryan is a right-handed shot. Ryan scored the goal on what was his forehand, but the stick’s backhand. Wonders never cease. Topping off the entertainment is the Zapruder-film like breakdown of the Ducks play-by-play crew of John Ahlers and Brian Hayward to figure out what just happened.  Enjoy.

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Save of the night: Corey Crawford goes wild to rob Bobby Ryan

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford may not make too many starts, but he made it count yesterday leading the Blackhawks to a 3-2 overtime win over the Ducks. The win snapped the Ducks six-game winning streak and it was thanks to saves like this one on Ducks star Bobby Ryan that helped him get it done. Perhaps Crawford has a future in floor gymnastics after this.

Bobby Ryan's position shuffle moves him back to left wing

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bobbyryan3.jpgBobby Ryan’s preseason of intrigue takes yet another turn, this time a predictable one. While Ryan was being tried out at center to attempt to give the Ducks three strong centers with Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan, and Saku Koivu, it appears that head coach Randy Carlyle didn’t like the way things were going and will move Ryan back to left wing. Only difference this time is he won’t be on the wing with Getzlaf and Corey Perry, according to the Orange County Register’s Curtis Zupke he’ll be riding shotgun with a couple of old guys.

The idea was that Ryan, the team’s leading goal scorer last season, could use his playmaking skills up the middle of the ice and help give the team depth at center with Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu able to fill out the other center spots on the top three lines.

Carlyle is apparently wavering from that idea, though, because he had Ryan back at his natural left wing position Thursday, with Saku Koivu at center and Teemu Selanne on his usual right wing spot.

“It’s not that we’re throwing it out the window,” Carlyle said of the experiment of Ryan at center. “We put him back at left wing for now and we’ll see how that develops.”

All right so he’s still tinkering and that’s good, but if you’re going to put Ryan at center, letting him continue to hone his game at that position throughout the preseason would seem like the right idea. After all, you don’t want a guy to be feeling his way through things during games that count in the standings. Then again, I’m not the NHL head coach here and Randy Carlyle is, so maybe I should shut my face about this.

Still, having Ryan playing on the same line with Koivu and Selanne sounds like a perfectly acceptable solution as well. With Matt Beleskey getting his shot to run with Getzlaf and Perry, loading up one line with all your scorers on a team that’s not offensively loaded comes off as risky. Figuring out a way to spread the wealth is the right move for Anaheim, but with the amount of guys they’ve got that can put the puck in the net they don’t have a lot of options to make it work.

Potential risks and rewards to the Ducks playing Bobby Ryan on the power play point

Thumbnail image for bobbyryan4.jpgIt doesn’t take an expert to figure out that it’s been a strange and busy summer for Bobby Ryan. First, he waited months to reach a five-year, $25.5 million deal to stay with the Anaheim Ducks. Then Joe passed along word that the winger might end up moving to the center position this season. The newest wrinkle is that the team is giving Ryan a shot on the power play point, according to Curtis Zupke of the OC Register.

The idea is to utilize Ryan’s ability to shoot and find teammates. It may not stick, but Coach Randy Carlyle clearly isn’t afraid to move some pieces around and might try it when the team opens a two-game preseason trip Friday at San Jose.

“I think when you have skilled players, and he’s one of our most skilled players, we think it would be foolish not to put him in as many offensive situations as possible,” Carlyle said.

“We’ll give it a whirl.”

Ryan played that point position briefly in the American Hockey League, so it’s not entirely new. Ideally he would have defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky man the right side and play as a “rover” with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne down low.

A power play with Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Visnovsky and Ryan? Now that’s the kind of results you’d like to see from a mad experiment.

That being said, I’ve often been critical of the practice of placing forwards on the point during the power play. While that might give you a boost in offensive firepower, it also subjects you to shorthanded goals. Zupke points out that the Ducks gave Ryan Getzlaf a try at the point but nixed that plan when the shorties became too much to handle.

Ryan has some experience playing defense, though, so this idea might hold a little more weight. The team will miss Scott Niedermayer’s “roving” presence on the power play, so you cannot blame them as they look to fill that void. If Ryan can be responsible enough in his own end, putting him at the point might just be crazy enough to work.

It could just as easily be a quickly forgotten training camp experiment too, though.