Tag: Saku Koivu

Ryan Kesler

Ducks still wondering what life would’ve been like with Kesler


Earlier this month, Anaheim appeared to be in thick of the Ryan Kesler sweepstakes, trading away Dustin Penner and Viktor Fasth at the deadline in what appeared to be cap-clearing moves.

The Kesler deal never came to fruition, though — he remained in Vancouver — and now, nearly a month later, Ducks players are still wondering what could’ve been.

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

“But he didn’t.”

Following the deadline, Ducks GM Bob Murray all but confirmed the club’s interest in Kesler, saying he put both of his first-round picks at the ’14 Draft in play and was “confused” as to why he came away empty-handed.

Anaheim was keen to add depth down the middle behind Ryan Getzlaf. Nick Bonino, Mathieu Perreault, Saku Koivu and Rickard Rakell have all played center and done so effectively, but none possess the skill, speed and two-way abilities of Kesler, a former 40-goal scorer and Selke Trophy winner.

The Ducks were in Vancouver on Saturday and trounced Kesler and the Canucks 5-1, which led to the discussions of what could’ve been. While Anaheim is looking forward — unlike Vancouver, who is all but done for playoff contention — the eldest Duck still acknowledged the opportunity missed was a big one.

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

“You can’t think tomorrow or next year. You’ve got to live by this time right now and this momentum. Win right now.”

Citing ‘lack of energy and emotion,’ Ducks call up Etem for Chicago tilt

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Emerson Etem #65 of the Anaheim Ducks skates prior to the game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on November 12, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida.

Almost unbeatable at home for most of this season, the Ducks have lost three of their last four at the Honda Center — and that’s prompted Bruce Boudreau to make a change, recalling Emerson Etem from AHL Norfolk.

“Quite frankly the one thing the last game [was that] it looked like there was a lack of energy and emotion, whether it be in the building or on the bench,” Boudreau said, per NHL.com. “Emerson’s a guy that can bring both of those things to the front.”

Etem, a 21-year-old speedster, was taken in the first round (29th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and had six goals and 10 points in 26 games prior to being demoted in December. He was averaging over 13 minutes per contest, figured prominently on the penalty kill and will likely skate on a line with Saku Koivu and fellow speedster Andrew Cogliano tonight against Chicago.

He’s also hoping to help the Ducks turn things around at Honda. Anaheim started the year 20-0-2 at home before finally losing in regulation to the Jets on Jan. 21. Since then the club has struggled, going just 2-3-0 over its last five home games, including back-to-back losses to Columbus and Dallas.

“For me, being a young guy I just try to keep my mouth shut, bury my head and work hard,” Etem said. “Whatever they tell me to do I’m willing to do. I take pride in being a hometown guy and putting on the Ducks sweater every time I get the opportunity.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me.”

NHL on NBCSN: Kings and Ducks shine under the lights at Dodger Stadium

Kings Ducks Dodgers Stadium Hockey

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Los Angeles Kings face the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium at 9:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Kings and Ducks are no strangers to each other. With one team in Los Angeles and the other in Orange County, it makes the setting at Dodger Stadium perfect to have a crosstown showdown of sorts.

The first of the NHL Stadium Series games gets underway tonight and for these two teams, familiarity does breed contempt. The Kings and Ducks have split their first two meetings this season with L.A. winning 3-2 in a shootout in December, but the Ducks taking a 2-1 victory at The Pond on Thursday.

The Ducks are on fire of late winning 20 of their past 23 games (20-3-0). Saying they’re “on fire” may not be putting it strong enough, but with a couple losses in their past four games, Bruce Boudreau’s squad won’t be taking it easy. Ryan Getzlaf (27) and Corey Perry (25) are tied as the highest-scoring tandem in the league with 52 goals with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Toss in secondary scorers like Dustin Penner, Teemu Selanne, and Saku Koivu (who’s done the outdoor game thing before) and you’ve got a loaded team.

The Kings will try to stifle the Ducks with their defensive style and having potential Team USA Olympic starter Jonathan Quick in goal makes it a little easier to do. Since returning from a groin injury on January 4, Quick is 4-3-2 with a 1.65 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage with one shutout. Those are the kinds of numbers you need if you want to start in Sochi, but the losses have piled up lately (losing four in a row) and the lack of offense can be blamed for that.

One player who hasn’t suffered from a lack of production is Jeff Carter. He has four goals in his past five games and nine points in the past 11 games. The Ducks kept him off the board on Thursday and he’ll be hoping to put a dent in Jonas Hiller and give the Kings a win on what’s almost home ice for them at Chavez Ravine.

More than anything Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and the rest of the Kings need wins. They’re 4-9-2 in their past 15 games and sit 17 points behind the Ducks in the Pacific Division.

Ducks’ Koivu recalls playing outdoors in 2003

Saku Koivu

Anaheim Ducks forward Saku Koivu is no stranger to playing outdoors.

He’ll be on the ice on Saturday night for the Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium against the Los Angeles Kings, but he was in the NHL’s first outdoor game in Edmonton in 2003 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

As Koivu told the Los Angeles Times, the conditions in L.A. are going to be a bit nicer than they were outside in Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium.

“You’d grab the puck and by the blue line, you’d have to pass because your eyes were watering so bad, you couldn’t see anymore,” Koivu said. “The heaters on the bench were so hot you wanted to get back out there, but it was so cold.”

Heaters on the bench likely won’t be necessary tonight as temperatures are expected to be in the 50s and 60s. Koivu and the Ducks face the Kings at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN tonight.

Dodgers prez: Conditions ‘should be fine’ for Ducks-Kings outdoor game

General view of Dodger Stadium as Dodger players warm up in left field and the grounds crew prepares the infield dirt and home plate area before the game between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
(August 26, 2011 - Source: Jeff Golden/Getty Images North America)

Even though weather forecasts call for Saturday to be pretty warm, Stan Kasten isn’t worried about the ice conditions at Dodger Stadium.

“The NHL has supreme confidence in their ability to put the game on,” Kasten, the Dodgers’ president and CEO, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. “I would have been concerned if the weather was going to be too cold, but in Michigan, even that’s not a problem.

“We should be fine.”

Here’s the upcoming forecast, courtesy Weather.com:


According to NHL ice guru Dan Craig, the important thing is to have temperatures at ice level stay at the 22-degree mark.

“That’s our focus, that’s what we want to be, that’s where we’ve always been,” Craig said. “The efficiency of the floor — I can tell you that it’s going to be 22, and the [ice-making] truck will be pushing at 20. Everybody says ‘well it’s 80 degrees outside.’ That’s how efficient that truck is.”

Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PT, which should help prevent sunlight from hitting the playing surface. The teams will also practice the evening prior to get a better feel for ice conditions, and one player — Anaheim’s Saku Koivu — already expressed optimism about the event being a success.

“It’s going to be even more special now with the weather,” Koivu said, per the L.A. Times. “Playing in California … I don’t think anyone ever thought it’d be possible to do here. It’s going to be a great experience.”