Tag: Saku Koivu

Ryan Kesler

Ducks to revisit trading for Kesler?


Interesting tidbit here from the L.A. Times on Anaheim GM Bob Murray’s plans for the offseason:

Murray said he might revisit his trade-deadline attempt to acquire Vancouver center Ryan Kesler, or pursue other upgrades.

“I don’t think I’ll offer as much as I did at the trade deadline,” Murray said, without naming Kesler. “There’s [other] things I might like to do and I would spend — I’m deep enough in players — to do so.”

Following the deadline, Murray essentially confirmed the club’s interest in Kesler, saying he put both of his first-round selections at the draft in play — which would later turn into the No. 10 and 24 picks overall — and was “confused” as to why he came away empty-handed.

At the time, Anaheim was keen to add to the center group of Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Bonino, Mathieu Perreault, Saku Koivu and Rickard Rakell. With Koivu now uncertain to return, the need to add centers remains — and what’s more, both Murray and Ducks players suggested roster shortcomings cost them this postseason.

“Obviously, we’re missing a little bit of something,” Andrew Cogliano told the Times.

“We’re not as close as everyone thought we were,” Murray added.

Which brings us back to Kesler.

There’s no denying the Ducks were angling for something at the deadline — Murray shipped out Dustin Penner and Viktor Fasth in what appeared to be cap-clearing moves — and, after failing to land the Vancouver center, players spoke openly about the opportunity missed.

“You think about it for sure because you hear the rumors and you hear people talking about it,” Cogliano said on Mar. 31, per the O.C. Register (paywall). “I think you envision a little bit of a scenario if he did come.”

“When you get those kinds of rumors and the opportunities that a guy like Kesler is available, you get pretty excited,” Teemu Selanne added.

The lingering issue here is the value of Murray’s offer. He thinks it’s high — evident by the fact he plans to offer less this summer — whereas the feeling around the league is that two first-round picks (both outside the top five) in a relatively weak draft isn’t enough to land Kesler, a former 40-goal scorer and Selke winner.

Murray will also contend that at the deadline, he was getting Kesler for at least three postseasons (he’s under contract ’til 2016) whereas now he’d only be guaranteed two.

It’s also worth noting that another talented center — Ottawa captain Jason Spezza — is believed to be available via trade, and that Anaheim is reportedly interested.

Saku Koivu to ‘take a couple of weeks’ to decide on future

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four

“I’ll take a couple of weeks to decide [on my future]. Get away for a little bit and then take it from there.”

That was Saku Koivu today, per the Ducks’ Twitter feed, talking about his playing career, and whether he hopes to continue it next season.

Koivu is a pending unrestricted free agent. The 39-year-old forward had 11 goals and 18 assists in 65 regular-season games, but only one assist in 13 playoff games.

In Anaheim’s Game 7 loss to Los Angeles, Koivu logged just 6:37 of playing time.

“I thought Game 4 and Game 5, he was as good as we had at center,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “His ice time went down when we needed a goal.”

Boudreau added: “He’d win faceoffs, he would compete, he would do a great job. I don’t know what the plans are for him, what his mindset is or what [general manager Bob Murray’s] mindset towards him is. It’s just one of those things you wait out and see.”

Related: Teemu Selanne: ‘It has been a pleasure to be around for so many years’

Get your Game 7 notes: Kings at Ducks

Los Angeles Kings v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five
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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Los Angeles Kings at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Kings and Ducks will meet in the sixth Game 7 of the 2014 playoffs, and third of the second round. The road team is 4-1 in Game 7s so far in 2014. Since the playoffs went to best-of-seven series in all rounds in 1987, it is only the third time that four road teams won Game 7s in a single postseason (previously done in 2009 and 2010). Never have five road teams won in a single postseason.

• The Kings became the fourth team in Stanley Cup playoff history to win four straight games after falling behind three-games-to-none, in their first-round series vs. San Jose. Then, they won Game 6 vs. Anaheim, down three-games-to-two. If they win Game 7 tonight, they will become only the third team in history to win six straight games when facing elimination in one postseason. The N.Y. Islanders won eight straight in 1975 and the Minnesota Wild won six straight in 2003. Elias Sports Bureau

• Kings winger Justin Williams has never lost in a Game 7 (5-0) and has figured prominently in each of his team’s Game 7 wins (See table). Williams (5-5–10) has the game-winning goal in two games, an assist on the game-winning goal in two others, and an empty-net goal that clinched a Stanley Cup title.


• The Ducks’ 20-year-old goaltender, John Gibson (2-1, 1.69 GAA, .946 save%, one shutout), will join a select group when he starts Game 7 in his first-ever playoff series. Only Harry Lumley (DET, 1945), Patrick Roy (MTL, 1986), Jim Carey (WSH, 1995) and Carey Price (MTL, 2008) previously started a Game 7 in their first-ever playoff series before turning 21. Lumley, Roy and Price all won.

• Kings winger Marian Gaborik, who is also 5-0 all-time in Game 7s (2-0 with Minnesota, 2-0 with the N.Y. Rangers, 1-0 with L.A.), leads the playoffs in goals, with eight. Five of those goals have come in this series. Only one other player has scored five times in a postseason series in 2014: Colorado center Paul Stastny, in the first round vs. Minnesota. (The Avalanche lost in seven games.)

• Only one Anaheim player, center Saku Koivu, has a winning career record (2-1) in Game 7s, with both wins coming with Montreal vs. Boston (2004, 2008). Four current Ducks were on the squad that last won a Game 7 for the franchise, in 2006: forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne (who scored the game-winning goal in a 3-0 win vs. CGY) and defenseman Francois Beauchemin. Selanne was also on the winning side the only other time Anaheim won a Game 7, in 1997 vs. PHX.

• Kings center Anze Kopitar, who leads the playoffs in scoring (4-13–17), has not scored a goal this series, but has contributed in other ways. He leads all players with seven assists (including five in L.A.’s three wins) and a +4 rating. In Games 5 and 6, he went 16/19 (84.2%) on faceoffs vs. Ducks center (and fellow Selke Trophy finalist) Ryan Getzlaf after going 20/43 (46.5%) in Games 1-4.

Ducks’ Koivu, Boudreau aiming for first trip to conference final

Saku Koivu

Bruce Boudreau oversaw four playoff runs with the Washington Capitals, but the talented squad headlined by Alex Ovechkin never got past the second round. If they had, perhaps he wouldn’t be in Anaheim now.

His Ducks are just one win away from taking him to a conference final for the first time in his career as a head coach. If Anaheim beats Los Angeles in Game 6 tonight, it will be proof that he is capable of guiding a squad through a deep postseason run, even if he couldn’t make it work with Washington.

Perhaps there’s someone on the Ducks that wants this win even more though. At the age of 39, this might be Saku Koivu’s last chance to finally get to the conference final.

“I think Saku, especially,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said, per NHL.com. “[Teemu] always wants to go out on a high note, I’m sure. Given the opportunity, I’m sure he’d love to. Saku, I know, really wants this. He wants to get to the Finals. He wants an opportunity to play for that Cup, and we’d love to give it to him.”

The Ducks know they can’t get ahead of themselves. The Kings want this too. Koivu, Boudreau, and the rest of the Ducks won’t get past them without earning it.

PHT Morning Skate: Jackets, Stars, ‘Hawks seek to tie things up

Jamie Benn

It’s just the kind of thing you want on a night filled with playoff games: Three teams with the opportunity to tie things up and force a best-of-three finish. If you’re a fan of the other teams, then you’re hoping they can take a commanding 3-1 lead before heading back home.

Such is the case tonight. The Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, and Chicago Blackhawks are each hoping to make their series 2-2 and the fun part is, after how they’ve all played in the postseason it could happen.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Wednesday at 7pm ETHere’s the FanDuel link.

Game 4: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins [Pittsburgh leads series 2-1] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Blue Jackets have to be kicking themselves for being down in this series. In the two games they’ve lost, they held 3-1 leads only to see them evaporate into 4-3 losses. Of course, the Jackets’ Game 2 win was also a 4-3 decision so there’s that, but the fact they held two-goal leads in Games 1 and 3 and came away with losses has to sting.

Does the blame fall on Sergei Bobrovsky or the Jackets for pulling back the reins and trying to protect the lead? One thing’s for sure this postseason — trying to sit on a lead hasn’t exactly worked for anyone. After a second tough loss, expect to see the Penguins be out for blood.

One thing that has to make people nervous? Sidney Crosby has yet to be a dominant player. He has four assists in three games, which is fine, but can you say he’s taken a game over yet? Not really and that’s something that won’t last for long.

Game 4: Dallas Stars vs. Anaheim Ducks [Anaheim leads series 2-1] (8:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

The Stars showed in Game 3 that they can be every bit as tough as the Ducks can be. Jamie Benn exerted his star player status and Antoine Roussel proved to be the perfect playoff irritant as they were able to get Anaheim chasing them on the scoreboard and around the ice looking for payback.

The Stars will need more of that and perhaps a little more Tyler Seguin if they want to send this series back to Anaheim tied 2-2. The Ducks are hoping to see Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry steer away from the extracurricular stuff and get back to scoring goals by the bunches.

If there’s an area the Ducks could use a hand in it’s secondary scoring. Anaheim’s top line has four of their seven goals in the postseason and on the road, it’s a little easier to see them get loaded up against. It’s time for the old guys (Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu) and the young guys (Jakob Silfverberg, Devante Smith-Pelly) alike to step up.

Game 4: Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues [St. Louis leads series 2-1] (9:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Blackhawks found a way to scrape back in Game 3 with a 2-0 win, but it was anything but convincing. Chicago lived on the edge holding onto a 1-0 lead through most of the game while the Blues continued to plug away looking to steal yet another game away late.

Lesson learned by the Blackhawks? They found a way to win it regardless. They may have a boatload of Stanley Cup-winning experience, but losing the first two games the way they did can make the mental game tougher. Now it’s up to Jonathan Toews and company to find another way to break through the Blues’ defense. Another top-notch start from Corey Crawford wouldn’t hurt either.

The Blues don’t exactly have a lot to figure out after Game 3. If anything, it was their best game of the playoffs to this point. Ryan Miller played a strong game and the top scorers (Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko) looked as dangerous as ever. If there’s anything Ken Hitchcock might stress for Game 4 it’s to keep doing what they have been and the breaks will come.