Bobby Ryan, Pekka Rinne

Video: Bobby Ryan’s candidate for goal of the season


You’re going to see this goal in highlight reels for the next 10 years.

During the third period with the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators locked up a 1-1, Bobby Ryan broke that tie in the meantime with a goal that defies description.

After picking the puck off at the point from Nashville forward David Legwand, Ryan streaked towards the Nashville end and poked the puck around and past Legwand twice more before deking and firing the puck past Rinne on the backhand to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.

While the game is headed to overtime tied at 3-3, Ryan’s goal remains the most spectacular goal we’ve seen in the playoffs and perhaps all season long.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

What the Ducks will do without Bobby Ryan in Nashville

Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf

When Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan was suspended for two games for stomping on the foot of Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum, it put the Ducks in a tough spot for the rest of the series. After all, Anaheim came back strong in Game 2 to tie the series up and with their next two games coming on the road in Nashville, being without one of your top players puts you at a big disadvantage.

With Ryan being a part of perhaps the best top line in hockey with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, having a line like that to put out there for instant offense is a luxury for coach Randy Carlyle. Now with Ryan gone for the next two games, he’s got some lineup shuffling to do. So how will the Ducks get by without Bobby Ryan now for the next two games? Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register looked things over to see just who takes his place.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle‘s willingness to take Ryan off that line on quite a few occasions this season might come in handy as he could turn to wingers such as Matt Beleskey or Brad Winchester, who’ve both played up with them. Carlyle may also turn to rookie Brandon McMillan, who was with Getzlaf and Perry for practice.

“We’ve had these situations before and you band together,” he said. ”What you do is you try to share the responsibility. No one guy can replace Bobby Ryan. Collectively, some people are going to have to step up and play to a higher level than they have probably all year. That’s really what we’re asking of our guys.”

Some fans assumed that perhaps 40 year-old Teemu Selanne could draw into that vacant spot on the top line, but breaking up his line with Jason Blake and Saku Koivu would make even less sense. Plus, Selanne plays right wing while Bobby Ryan was taking his spot on the left side of Getzlaf. Moving Selanne to the top line is the sort of move you make in a video game, not real life.

For guys like Beleskey, Winchester, or McMillan their role riding shotgun on that top line is a bit different than what you see from Ryan. They’ll get out there and provide a bit more physicality and aggression. After all, they don’t have the sort of scoring talent to be able to keep up with the likes of Getzlaf and Perry.

It’s a rough situation but one the Ducks have to make the best of and it provides for a rough lesson for Ryan. When he returns in Game 5 expect him to be a lot smarter about what he’s doing on the ice and to have that extra gear of motivation to play at a top level. Nashville might want to protect home ice by winning the next two because a rested Bobby Ryan will be a dangerous Bobby Ryan come Game 5.

NHL suspends Bobby Ryan two playoff games for foot stomp

Bobby Ryan, Jordin Tootoo

Much like the Anaheim Ducks’ other top forwards, Bobby Ryan made a big impact on their series-tying Game 2 win. He won’t be able to make an impact until the series returns to Anaheim in Game 5, however, because the NHL handed him a two-game suspension for stomping on Jonathan Blum’s foot, according to Eric Stephens of the OC Register.

Missing two playoff games will be a harsh lesson for the budding superstar, especially since Game 3 and 4 will take place in Nashville. Ryan will regret that mistake that much more if the Predators take a 3-1 series lead in his absence.

(For video footage of the stomp, check out the clip at the bottom of this post.)

As we discussed before, there are precedents for some significant suspensions regarding stomping motions, although Chris Simon and Chris Pronger’s incidents were more egregious examples of dangerous skate usage. (Simon received a 30-game suspension and Pronger was sidelined eight games, but both players were repeat offenders, which also factored into their hefty punishments.)

Here’s what league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said about the decision, via TSN.

“The actions by Ryan were both reckless and dangerous,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.  “While it was fortunate there was no injury to Blum on the play, the act of using your skate in this manner is unacceptable.”

It didn’t appear to be a malicious move, but on the other hand, the league needs to discourage players from using their skate blades in dangerous ways. The league’s justice system is still a bit on the nebulous side, but I’d say that they got this one about right, especially since this wasn’t a moment that could be attributed to the speed of the game (at least compared to controversial open-ice hits).

Ducks fans obviously won’t be happy with this decision, but the NHL’s message is clear: players must acknowledge the fact that their skates can double as weapons and must be careful to use them properly. Something tells me Ryan won’t make that mistake again.