Tag: Anaheim Ducks

Jarmo Kekalainen

Kekalainen: Jackets to add ‘depth on defense’ this offseason


Given all the injuries the Blue Jackets have endured this season, it’s no surprise that their GM, Jarmo Kekalainen, would like to add some insurance for next season.

And he’s looking specifically at the blue line.

“I think we need to add a little bit more depth on defense to make sure… I mean defense is a position that if you have injuries you’re going to be in a tough situation,” Kekalainen told FOX Sports Ohio recently.

“The guys that come up to play from the minors have to be NHL-ready, at least, for the amount of games that they need to play at that time. That can expose you if they’re not.

“I think with the amount of players that we have now under contract for next year, and the prospects that we have, whether that’s in Springfield, junior or college coming to the pros, we have to make sure that we have enough depth for next year. That’s something that we’ll focus on in the offseason.”

Remember that the Jackets no longer have James Wisniewski on the payroll; he was traded to Anaheim at the deadline, with no defensemen coming back in the deal.

Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson are the only real veteran defenders under contract.

Related: Kekalainen ‘worried’ about Murray’s development after three injury-plagued years

Ducks face prospect of entering playoffs without clear Game 1 goalie

Anaheim Ducks v New York Rangers

The Anaheim Ducks are unique in the NHL in that they only have four games left in their regular season schedule. They also have essentially won their division and might even capture the Presidents’ Trophy. So it’s safe to call the regular season a success, but one thing it hasn’t produced is a clear Game 1 starter for the playoffs.

Going into the campaign both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson looked like equally viable candidates for that role given their potential and relative lack of NHL experience. For much of the season it looked like Andersen would run away with the starting gig, although that was partially due to Gibson suffering a groin injury early in the campaign.

Now they’re both healthy and have split the Ducks’ duties pretty evenly this month. Gibson was the latest to get the nod on Sunday and led Anaheim to a 2-1 victory over New Jersey.

Along the way he made this gem of a save:

“He never stops,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler told the Orange County Register. “I think three or four times, they had a wide-open net. He throws something. Stick, leg, arm. Somehow, he keeps it out of the net. He’s a special talent.”

At the same time, Gibson did surrender four goals in each of his previous two games. At the end of the day, neither goaltender has significantly beaten out the other this month and with so little action left in Anaheim’s schedule, it seems unlikely that this matter will be cleanly settled before the playoffs.

Going into the postseason without an obvious number one is typically not desirable, but the Ducks don’t see this as a negative.

“It’s a great battle to have,” Corey Perry said. “They’re playing at the top of their game. They’re battling. And that’s all we can ask for. You’d rather have 1A and 1B rather than one and four. It’s a good thing.”

Western Conference playoff picture: Wild keep rolling, Ducks and Preds clinch

Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle,Jared Spurgeon,Ryan Carter, Marco Scandella

The Minnesota Wild moved into the third seed in the Central Division with a 4-1 victory over the L.A. Kings on Saturday night. The Wild, who trailed the Chicago Blackhawks by 16 points on Jan. 27, now lead the Blackhawks by a point.

Minny’s win moves Chicago into the second wild card seed in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks have a pair of games in hand on the Wild.

With the Kings losing earlier in the night, Vancouver was able to create a three-point cushion between themselves and L.A. with a single point in their 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. The Canucks own the second seed in the Pacific Division.

The Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators added to their respective division leads with wins on Saturday.

Nashville hung on for a 4-3 win Saturday afternoon in Washington. With the win, the Preds clinched a playoff berth and moved three points ahead of the St. Louis Blues atop the Central Division.

The Ducks edged the New York Islanders 3-2 punching their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Anaheim now has a 12 point lead on the second place Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division.

The St. Louis Blues fell 4-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets failing to gain ground in the race for the Central Division crown.

Chicago and Winnipeg hold the two wild card seeds entering Sunday’s action while the Calgary Flames are three points back of a wild card position and just one point back of the L.A. Kings for the third seed in the Pacific Division.

All three teams play on Sunday.

Jackets’ Bourque (back) done for the season

Edmonton Oilers v Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without forward Rene Bourque for the remainder of the season due to a stress fracture in his back.

Columbus acquired Bourque from Anaheim in the deal which saw James Wisniewski go to the Ducks.

The 33-year-old had four goals and a minus-2 rating in eight games with Columbus.

Saturday’s news ends a whirlwind season for Bourque, who began the season with the Montreal Canadiens. Bourque was waived by the Habs and spent four games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs prior to being dealt to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Bryan Allen.

Bourque has one year remaining on his six-year, $20 million contract.

Goalie nods: Lundqvist won’t get to ease back in

Henrik Lundqvist

All the latest from the blue paint…

Long live the King?

As already noted earlier today, it appears as though Henrik Lundqvist will make his return to the New York Rangers’ net as they face the Boston Bruins (who most likely will roll with Tuukka Rask).

Normally, this would be a cause for outright glee, and it’s true that “King Henrik” will be gladly welcomed back into the fold. Still, the Rangers have been on a tear thanks in a large part to Cam Talbot’s wonderful play in Hank’s absence, so it remains to be seen if New York sees a little fall-off.

Let there be no doubt that the Bruins will send their best at Lundqvist, so this isn’t exactly an example of easing a player back into the mix.

This is just one of several games during an unusually busy Saturday afternoon, so hopefully hockey fans already got their errands (and napping) done today.


Predators at Capitals: Pekka Rinne vs. Braden Holtby

Ducks at Islanders: Probably Frederik Andersen vs. Michal Neuvirth

Sharks at Flyers: Alex Stalock vs. (likely) Steve Mason

Coyotes at Penguins: Mike Smith vs. Thomas Greiss

Lightning at Red Wings: Likely Ben Bishop s. Petr Mrazek

Senators at Maple Leafs: Craig Anderson vs. James Reimer

Panthers at Canadiens: Roberto Luongo vs. Carey Price

Devils at Hurricanes: Keith Kinkaid vs. Cam Ward

Blue Jackets at Blues: Likely Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Brian Elliott

Kings at Wild: Likely Jonathan Quick vs. Devan Dubnyk

Sabres at Avalanche: ANders Lindback vs. Semyon Varlamov

Stars at Canucks: Maybe Kari Lehtonen vs. Eddie Lack