If Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau had his way, Francois Beauchemin’s name would be coming up in discussions for the Norris Trophy.
“It should come up,” Boudreau told the OC Register (paywall) about Beauchemin being recognized as one of the NHL’s top defensemen. “On what he’s done and where we are in the standings and how much he plays and how important he is to us — all those factors.”
Beauchemin, 32, is enjoying arguably the finest campaign of his career. He leads the Ducks in points (21) through 36 games — pro-rated, that’s a 47-point pace over an 82 game season.
He also ranks second among all NHL defensemen in plus-minus (+22), eighth among all skaters in blocked shots (85) and averages over 23 minutes for the second-best team in the Western Conference.
Boudreau figures those numbers and Beauchemin’s overall importance to the Ducks should put him in the Norris race — a race that appears to be pretty wide open.
Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Montreal’s PK Subban are three of the names that routinely come up, though the likes of St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar have all gotten some buzz.
Boudreau added that Beauchemin’s chances may be hindered by playing in the Pacific Time Zone.
“[Beauchemin’s name] doesn’t come up because we’re not in the East,” Boudreau explained. “He doesn’t have a point a game. He’s not on ‘NHL Tonight’ every night.”
Bruce Boudreau didn’t name names after his team’s fourth straight loss on Wednesday, but it’s clear the Ducks’ head coach isn’t happy with the performances of a number of his players.
“We’ve got some guys who are working their [rears] off and then we have continually the same passengers every night,” Boudreau said, per the LA Times. “Those passengers, we rely on them heavily. We were a 20-man team when we were successful. We can’t do it with 10 or 12, and that’s what it seems these four games have been like.”
Things don’t get any easier for Anaheim tonight. The Ducks are in Chicago to face the Blackhawks — a team that will be looking for revenge after dropping a 4-2 decision March 20 at the Honda Center.
As we wrote a couple of days ago, hockey’s advanced statistics purveyors have been predicting an Anaheim collapse for some time now.
The Ducks have been outscored 16-5 in their last four games.
Is it just a little slump?
Or, is a house of cards coming tumbling down?
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.
Bruce Boudreau is doing a great job coaching the Anaheim Ducks this season. As it turns out, he’s still good for a funny one-line or two.
When the OC Register asked about the Detroit Red Wings realigning to the equivalent of the Eastern Conference, Boudreau provided these comments:
“They shouldn’t be in the West,” Boudreau said. “Get them out as quick as possible, by the way. I can tell you a couple of teams. They should be with Chicago. Chicago should be in the East too.
“Who else? I think the Kings could go there, just for some travel.”
Naturally, he was joking – especially about Los Angeles – but Boudreau followed that up with a more serious take on the proposal.
“It really helps out a lot of teams,” Boudreau said. “It keeps you in the same time zone for the most part. I know for a guy who was out east and came to the west, I found it quite taxing to keep going through time zones.
“There’s teams that it’s definitely going to help. You look at Winnipeg and you look at Dallas and Columbus. Detroit. I think they’re all going to help them. I think it’s going to create even greater rivalries amongst teams.”
Even if those pesky Kings stick around.
The Anaheim Ducks are the NHL’s second-best team, sporting a 13-2-1 record.
The Los Angeles Kings sit 19th in the league, with a 8-6-2 mark.
Yet it’s the former that’s fired up to test itself against the latter on Monday night at the Staples Center in the latest edition of the Freeway Faceoff — just ask Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau.
“To me, it’s the ultimate test,” Boudreau told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re playing like they played in the playoffs last year. I watch every one of their games and they’re just flat-out good. And [Jonathan] Quick is good and he’s playing like he’s the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
“They’re as good a test as you’re going to find in this game today.”
The two teams have only met once this year, with Anaheim winning a 7-4 scoring bonanza that saw Quick get hooked after allowing two goals on his first three shots — he lasted just 5:49 all told — and Anaheim going 3-for-4 on the power play.
Also, the last game was marred by the Jarret Stoll hit on Cam Fowler, one that knocked the young defenseman out of action for eight games (he returned on Sunday in a 4-3 OT win over Colorado.)
The Kings started the season slowly but have picked things up as of late. Winners of their last three, they’ve outscored opponents 10-1 over that stretch and have only allowed eight goals over their last six games.
“This,” said Ducks winger Teemu Selanne, “is going to be a good test.”