Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ducks Gameday—Carter tries to play God

Toronto Maple Leafs (16-18-8, 13th in east) at Anaheim Ducks (22-17-6, 6th in west)

So even passing readers should know that I have an unhealthy addiction to Sammy Pahlsson. From poetry to trophy talk to analysis to fantasy fun to putting him in every game prediction, I think I've made clear my position: Pahlsson is god.

So of course I'm going to be a little reticent to acknowledge when some kid comes and plays the murderer's minutes, and does it capably. Of course I'm glad it's been working out for the point-desperate Ducks, but if Ryan Carter can be a shutdown wizard in Pahlsson's absence, it takes a bit of the luster off the SuperSwede.

Grudgingly, I'll hand it to Carter, though; he's worked himself in nicely on the stopper line between Travis "the omen" Moen and Fun Bobby Niedermayer. In the last three games, he has averaged more than 13 even-strength minutes a game, fulfilling all the necessary Pahlsson functions:

  • Winning faceoffs (or at least losing them well)
  • Shadowing key opponents
  • Throwing his body around
  • Keeping the puck in the opponent's end
One tendency I particularly like out of Carter (because it's something I notice also in Pahlsson's game) is his willingness to shoot the puck immediately in nearly every circumstance. It's not necessarily a play that results in a goal-for, usually, but rather it's almost a defensive mechanism. It reduces the risk of a turnover, while forcing opponents to start from their own net.

In 10 games since Carter's most recent call-up, he's played 87 even-strength minutes with an even goal-differential, plus-2 and minus-2. He's also spent some 3 shorthanded minutes without a goal-against. It's impressive work from a kid now filling in one of the tougher set of skates in the league; hopefully he can keep it going while Sammy's down.

He's still not in Sammy territory yet, though. Pahlsson this season has averaged those same thirteen difficult minutes, plus he throws in nearly five minutes a game on the penalty-kill as well; Carter thus far has only done the even-strength work. And if Carter wants a really lofty goal, he can try to mirror Pahlsson's playoff results, where he went plus-17 and minus-8 (a ratio of more than 2-to-1!) at even-strength against some of the toughest top lines in the playoffs. Oh, and he led all postseason skaters in penalty-killing time, hits, and faceoff wins, too.

Still, keep up the good work, kid.


Anyways, the Maple Leafs roll into town for the first time in more than 50 months, but who's counting? I was looking over the game roster of that last visit in 2003:
  • There are eight players I see that are still with their squads: Sundin, Tucker, McCabe, Kaberle, and Ponikarovsky for Toronto, and Giguere, Pahlsson, and R. Niedermayer for Anaheim.

  • The Mighty Ducks were quite a multicultural team back then; on the 20-man roster there were 8 countries represented, and 10 players hailed from overseas (Fedorov, Chistov, Vishnevski, Sykora, Prospal, Pahlsson, Havelid, Ozolinsh, Salei, and Gerber). As I've noted, lately the Ducks have played a 20-man roster that represents 3 countries, with only Swiss back-up goalie Jonas Hiller representing Europe.
For a Toronto angle on things, check out Pension Plan Puppets or Battle of Ontario (not just for gloating at Senator fans anymore!).

Prediction: The Ducks that played in the 2nd period against Nashville is a scary bunch, and you might think that they are set to wipe out the Leafs, but I'm not sure. I'm thinking that Toronto is starting to realize that it will be a long time until they can actually beat their rival Senators, and the next-best thing may be to beat the team that beat Ottawa. Still, the webbed ones carry the day: Ducks 4, Leafs 3. Goals by Getzlaf, Niedermayer (I don't care which one), Pahlsson, and Bochenski. If Pahlsson is still injured, Carter can feel free to substitute his first career goal anytime he's ready.

Go Ducks.


spade-in-victorhell said...

im optomistic (no really)..the dux dont play till sunday after today...knowing that...they show up looking like the 2nd period dux....also in there favor...tuzzi said" its nice to see someone different"....and knowing theyll be watched all over canada...so 3 motivation factors..dux come out strong...but so do the leafs....I agree 4-3 dux...

PPP said...

First off, let me say thanks to your team once again for saving Canada and especially Toronto from the special hell that would have resulted if the Ducks had not crushed the senators in the final.

Second of all, 4-3 is pretty generous on your part. If Toskala doesn't play it could get ugly.

spade-in-victorhell said...

we respect our opponets...unlike ottawa..thats what was sweet about rolling over them...all this talk about spezza-heatly-alfie...volchenkov...phillips...redden...all those players made bad mistakes...got plowed..had circles un around them....only alfie made an effort towards the end...(i guess all needed to get going was shoot the puck at someone)

and were not playing consistant yet...right now its a flip of the coin if we win or lose

Earl Sleek said...

Second of all, 4-3 is pretty generous on your part.

What can I say? I'm a giver.

right now its a flip of the coin if we win or lose

Well, it's a rather lopsided coin, but sure, the effort definitely comes and goes. It certainly hasn't played out yet to any expectations of "best blueline in NHL history".

spade-in-victorhell said...

as far as carter goes...Im excited about him cuz he could be a cheap replacement/upgrade for rob nieds. of course that wont happen till scott leaves....but still worth pointing out that the checking line will be solid for years to come it seems

PPP said...

i guess all needed to get going was shoot the puck at someone

Yeah, whenever an Alfie v. Mats debate is going too long we try to bust out the most chickenshit move ever.

You know, if Teemu doesn't come back you can always trade for Mats...

spade-in-victorhell said...

earl explain why they reassigned bobby ryan?...just so they could use bochenski?...he that bad defensivly? he seemed to have chemistry with weight...? or does this have somthing to do with teemu?

im guessing they want to take a hard look at bochenski see if hes worth a damn...so far he doesnt look any better than your favortie player mark mowers

Earl Sleek said...

I'm not sure why Duck fans are all over Bochenski after two games (you're not the only person I've seen complain)--I thought he had a really strong game vs. Nashville, and other than his shootout attempt (which if we're going to be tough on Bochenski, we should probably start pointing fingers at Getzlaf first), he wasn't bad in Phoenix.

There's nothing I really see that indicates that Bobby Ryan wasn't functional, but to my eye the difference between Ryan and Bochenski isn't enormous--if the latter can capably play on Weight's wing, then I'm probably in favor of demoting the youngest Ryan.

I'd rather him be playing some serious minutes in the AHL than tagging along with Parros on the fourth line (or getting scratched outright)--that's for sure.

spade-in-victorhell said...

if your using that rational demot bochenski..let him tear it up in the minors...ryan showed a lot on last recall...INCLUDING CHEMISTRY WITH DOUG WIEGHT...this wouldnt happen I think due to the fact bochenski was just added....just think RC or whomever made the desiscion pre-mature ejaculated or was pressure to get a good look at bochenski...

naw bochenksi hasnt played enough to be a hnidy-goat yet...the fuss is about not letting ryan have a couple more games on the 2nd line

Earl Sleek said...

I guess Ryan maybe deserves more games, but I don't know if it matters very much. If Teemu does return, neither Ryan nor Bochenski probably survives in the top six.

Honestly, somebody's going to have to explain what Bochenski's done to earn goat-contemplation. So he didn't score a goal in his first two games--we could say the same for Weight or Bertuzzi also. Heck, it wasn't until their second season that Brad May or Parros scored a goal.

And maybe I'm too easy-going, but I really can't tell you one difference between Bochenski's game and Ryan's (through two games, at least). I don't know what difference it's really made in the team play or the results, which is why I'm curious as to why I'm supposed to be bagging on Bochenski already.

Itlan said...

if your using that rational demot bochenski..let him tear it up in the minors...
Can't send him down without passing thru waivers. I'm not sure how attractive he is to other teams but if he were claimed, we'd be all over Burke (again) for letting players go while on waivers.

spade-in-victorhell said...

u have to remember we lost our goat when hnidy was traded....haha we need a new one!!!...no just kidding....the jury is out on the guy...for me anyways..i cant speak for the anti-bochenski crowd..

i think real reason is along the lines of what your saying...management..probally saw not that much difference between the two...so they wanted to get a good look and see if bochenski is worth anything...he starts suckin...ryan comes back up..or teemu joins

a question for you...reading thru burkes comments about perry....perry cant be signed to an
offer sheet till after july 1st right?...niedemeyer is sure to retire...so whats the big deal...who cares if perry isnt signed anytime soon...cant burke just sign perry once the season ends using some of the money hes saving on niedemeyer-weight-etc?..why is it such a big deal? or does niedemeyer's contract not come off till after july 1st?

spade-in-victorhell said...

ok maybe not send bochenski down cuz of what itlan said...but why not rotate the 2..play whos playing better...make it a compitetion

Earl Sleek said...

On Perry, I haven't really read anything Burke's said, but I'm not surprised nor worried that he won't be re-signed until the summer. With my basic understanding of tag space, I could have figured that out on a bar napkin.

Yeah, no offer sheets can come until arbitration season, so that's not a pressing concern. I really have no feel on Niedermayer's intentions, though, to tell the truth. If the guy couldn't retire once, does that make him more or less likely to retire the next opportunity he gets?

So we'll have to wait for the summer; no big deal. The only time I would have wanted to sign Perry early is before he started scoring tons of goals this year (so last summer, probably, when Crosby got his deal). At the point when Perry got on his 35 (or whatever) goal pace, it wouldn't matter whether Burke signs Perry early or not--he'll get paid for being a proven goal-scorer, whether that contract happens today or next June.

Probably the only things that throw a wrench in the plans now is if Perry steals himself a Rocket Richard trophy or a Conn Smythe, but I think we needn't hold our breath on either fantasy.


As for the rotate-Ryan-and-Bochenski idea, it's not the worst, but again, if I had a choice of Ryan playing every game in the AHL or half the games in the NHL, development-wise I'm happy giving him ice time at his young age.

Besides, look what a first-year demotion to the AHL did for Getzlaf and Perry in '05-'06. Burke is bound to that formula-for-success now (until it proves unfruitful).

Itlan said...

I think Perry can certainly talk to other teams whenever he wants, and vice-versa. Teams can be in Perry's ear. Perry can't do anything until July 1, you are right.

But signing him earlier ensures the Ducks don't lose him or over pay for him if he has a great rest of the season. Perry can delay signing just like Penner did until after July 1, then get an offer sheet. If Penner gets $25mil, Perry stands to get at least that much.

Skeeter's contract comes off the books when he files the retirement papers.

Also about Ryan, I think the Ducks have a limit to the number of players they can have "on the roster" even if they are healthy scratches. Injured players don't count. Bobby Ryan lost his nose for the net over the past few games that he played. Passing the puck away at the last second when he should have been shooting. He'll be back up before the end of the year, I am sure of that.

spade-in-victorhell said...

u know now that u mention it..i do remember ryan passing up shots...tuzzi is infamous for that too though..

i remember burke saying hell file the retirement papers himself...that goes with what u were saying..

well if perry is a douche and is all about the money...burke has a way of doing the "dont let the door hit u on the way out" thing...well see

good points on the perry-getz demotion earl..."trust in burke"...i guess ehh

Earl Sleek said...

Perry can delay signing just like Penner did until after July 1, then get an offer sheet.

Well, there's still the option of arbitration that Burke didn't utilize on Penner (I don't blame him; there's no way I expected arbitration to be so soft this summer compared to earlier summers). Before any team can offer Perry an offer sheet, Burke can opt for arbitration and then nobody is allowed to offer him squat.

It's an unlikely scenario; more likely I think Burke and Perry wink-wink nod-nod on an amount, and just have to wait for the appropriate day when that money's available to offer and sign. I don't see Perry as a particularly contentious fellow, but I've been wrong before.

spade-in-victorhell said...

the used the word fellow...funny stuff earl

Morbo said...

I think Bochenski has been okay, it's only been 2 games.

Bochenski has to pass waivers (as noted above). Also, Ryan has bonuses in his contract (for games played), and Burke would rather not have to pay those out, since they go against the cap.

So with May and GOD coming back soon, too many bodies = Ryan in the press box, which does him no good. He's looked okay, but he could use some more polishing, and he can get the ice time back in Portland.

Earl Sleek said...

Good point on the games-played bonus for B. Ryan--I hadn't considered that, but that's more than valid.

Also, one thing I haven't really covered yet is the play of Doug Weight, which I think has been really positive. He's got some A-Oates mentorship in him, and has helped both Ryan and Bochenski look a little more capable. He's also not a thug, which is important in helping that old team image.

spade-in-victorhell said...

holy cow...what a great win....your man bochenski even scored earl!!! hahaha...( i thought somewhere earl has just soiled his pants)well it was kinda of a soft goal...man I remember toskala being better...

and what the fuck I always thought the ducks were one of the bigger teams in the nhl...that was until the toronto maple "gorillas" leaves came into town...is everyone on that team 6'-7" with huge pads? it was funny seeing the dux trying to run them over and bouncing right off them haha...the leafs might suck but theyll never get pushed around....

thanx Belak for going boogard and kneeing the stache....and to add insult to injury kicking his ass....wonder how long the stache will be out...good thing may is close to being back i guess

Earl Sleek said...

Bah, Bochenski isn't really "my man"; it's just I can't figure out why we're so ready to burn the guy. He could have had 3-4 goals by now, and it may be that his story is one of bad conversion, but I still maintain that the difference between B.Bochenski and B.Ryan is fairly negligible.

As for Parros' injury, I don't know if I'm that worried. He's definitely improved from last year, but is one of the last guys I check to make sure he's in the lineup. It's sort of weird--the last two fights the Moustache has been in he's looked more like last year's version--maybe all this balance he's been exhibiting this year has been temporary.

...and you might think that they are set to wipe out the Leafs, but I'm not sure.

Hmm, maybe I need to stick with my first instinct on these gameday predictions. Is there any way we can play the Maple Leafs 8 times a year?

spade-in-victorhell said...

naw the stache is more of a moral figure more than anything...and just funny to look at..sux knowin u wont see the porn/highway patrol officer stache patrolling the ice.....but impact not so much

im just riding u on bochenski i know u really dont want to have man-love with him...it just gets u going..I just love having a goat...i guess suthersby is my goat...for now...but that doesnt really work either....damn it I have no one to complain about

question: u think carter goes to the 4th line when sami comes back? carter-marchant-may on sunday? with his face-off ability(beating sundin last nite was sweet) u could bring him in to take face-offs...then he can do a quick change...whats your thoughts on that

Earl Sleek said...

I think Sutherby's a pretty good goat. I think he's trying really hard, but I don't know if I've been overly impressed--he'd be more valuable if we had an opening on the stopper line, but Rob N. and Moen aren't going anywhere.

As for Pahlsson's return, as much as it pains me to say it, I think Sammy should be getting back up to speed on the 4th line, and when he feels ready, then Carter gets demoted. It might not take more than a game or two, but I wouldn't demote Carter until we know that Sammy is ready. Just my theory, though, and Carlyle hates taking my advice.

spade-in-victorhell said...

haha....yea your right suthersby would fit in on the checking line..more evidence of that is him playing the PK last nite...yea hes trying his butt of and I gues RC see's it...that guy loves to fight but never wins..hard to hate that effort...i think marchant is the goat then...right?