Tag: Anaheim Ducks

Steve Yzerman

Yzerman, Sather, Murray finalists for GM of the Year


The NHL GM of the Year award has come down to Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman, the New York Rangers’ Glen Sather, and Anaheim’s Bob Murray.

For Murray its an opportunity to become the first general manager to win the award twice since it was first given in 2010. Anaheim won its division for the third straight year and is fighting the Chicago Blackhawks for a berth into the Stanley Cup Final.

Murray helped bring the Ducks to the next level in the playoffs by acquiring Ryan Kesler from Vancouver in the summer of 2014 in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and two draft picks. Kesler had a solid campaign and has been a big help in the postseason with four goals, nine points, and a 61.2 faceoff winning percentage in 12 contests. Perhaps the biggest move was the one Murray didn’t make though. He let goaltender Jonas Hiller walk as a free agent and rather than replace him, Murray put his trust in the idea that one of his two young netminders, Frederik Andersen or John Gibson, would be able to fill the void. So far that’s worked out for Anaheim.

Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning had a 50-24-8 record in the regular season and advanced to the 2015 Eastern Conference Final. Yzerman inherited Steven Stamkos, but he’s done a great job of building a strong team around the superstar. The Lightning have a number of young offensive weapons, including Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat, all of which were acquired during Yzerman’s watch. Kucherov was a late second round selection in 2011 while Palat slipped all the way to the seventh round of the same draft. Johnson meanwhile was never drafted and Yzerman instead lured him over with an entry-level contract in 2011.

The Lightning general manager also acquired a vital piece of the puzzle in 2013 when he sent Cory Conacher and a fourth round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Ben Bishop.

Sather has been running the Rangers’ front office since in 2000 and oversaw their Presidents’ Trophy-winning 2014-15 campaign. He’s made a habit of trading for or signing high-profile players with varying degrees of success. The most recent example is defenseman Keith Yandle, who he pried away from Arizona in March. Some of the other big names he’s acquired in recent years include Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, and Dan Boyle.

Blackhawks need more ‘quick plays’ to crack Anaheim’s structure


How to get the shot through.

In today’s NHL, it’s one of the major challenges for any offense — even one with as much firepower as the Chicago Blackhawks.

Thursday night, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, the ‘Hawks had 27 of their shot attempts blocked by the Ducks. Only 28 of their attempts ended up on net, and only one went in during the 2-1 loss.

“Just means we’ve got to battle a little bit harder,” said forward Andrew Shaw.

That’s the typical response. It all comes down to hard work. Competing. Paying the price.

But Shaw’s, teammate, Brandon Saad has another suggestion.

“I think last night (we) played a little too much on the perimeter, trying to make too many plays,” Saad said. “I think when we delay the play, wait to find the perfect shot, they get a chance to get in the lane. The more we force it to the net, make quick plays, it’s going to be to our advantage.”

That’s more in line with the “play fast” mentality that most teams strive for, except usually we hear that phrase in terms of moving the puck quickly up the ice, forcing the defenders to turn while taking away their time to get set up in the neutral zone.

By the way, the Blackhawks had a tough time getting through the neutral zone, too.

“They have good sticks, five guys behind center all looking to check,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “I think getting it in sometimes is the best alternative, whether it’s on a net, a rim or a chip. … I think we got to use our speed to get center and get it behind them.”

During the Calgary series, Ducks center Ryan Kesler was asked what it takes to defeat a team with speed, like both the Flames and Blackhawks possess.

“Structure,” Kesler replied, per the Daily Breeze. “I think just playing as a five-man unit out there. … If we play really structurally sound, then they can’t break through us.”

And Thursday night, the ‘Hawks couldn’t.

Video: ‘I got bumped the whole game,’ says Crawford


It appears the Anaheim Ducks have made it their mission to make life as unpleasant as possible for Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.

On both Anaheim goals in a Game 3 win over Chicago on Thursday, Corey Perry was standing directly in front of Crawford, providing the perfect screen on shots from the point.

Patrick Maroon scored on a deflection, and Simon Despres got his shot past a helpless Crawford, who didn’t move over to his left in time and it can be argued that was because of Perry in front.

“Just came down to one play, I guess,” Crawford said, as per CSN Chicago. “I got bumped. I got bumped the whole game. It wasn’t enough to get called, but it was enough on that one (to be) a little distraction. I’ve got to find a way to not get caught up, I guess.”