Los Angeles Hockey: Ducks

Hats off, GM Murray, for locking up Perry

March, 19, 2013

And just like that, the biggest name that could have been moved before the April 3 deadline has been scratched off the trade market list.

Corey Perry is staying put in Anaheim thanks to a $69 million, eight-year contract extension announced during Monday night’s Sharks-Ducks game.

Score one for the underdog, GM Bob Murray.

Most team executives and agents around the NHL didn’t think he could sign both his potential unrestricted free agent stars, Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Maybe one, many said, but likely not both.

Of course, it cost the Ducks a healthy sum to pull it off. As in $8.625 million on average per season for Perry, and earlier this month, Getzlaf got reeled in for $8.25 million a year, also over eight years. That’s $135 million for two players from 2013-14 through 2020-21.

Here’s the crazy part: Perry likely would have gotten more on the open market, as in at least $9 million a year, if he truly was exposed to all 30 teams in the league come July 5.

The Toronto Maple Leafs would have been all over the 2011 Hart Trophy winner, with the likes of Detroit and Philadelphia probably not far behind.

Two months ago, I would have told you there was little chance Perry would sign before the trade deadline. That was the feeling most people around the league had, as well. But there's no question Anaheim’s surprising season, which has seen the Ducks challenge for first overall, had a profound impact on Perry and his decision to skip free agency.

Last summer, Perry was also presented with a massive offer from the Ducks, but sources say he didn’t want to commit yet. After a couple of disappointing seasons for the Ducks, it was certainly within Perry’s rights to be a little patient before deciding whether Anaheim remained committed to winning.

Smart offseason additions by Murray -- Sheldon Souray, Daniel Winnik and Bryan Allen, plus the emergence of Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth -- helped the Ducks fill some holes.

Getzlaf’s re-emergence as one of the NHL’s premier No. 1 centers is certainly no small factor, either. The Ducks' captain signed his extension March 8, putting all the spotlight and pressure squarely on his linemate, Perry.

And you knew Murray and the Ducks' front office would take one last run at Perry contractwise before deciding whether to put him on the trade market.

Make no mistake: Murray would have looked at what Perry’s value would have been on the trade market if he hadn't signed. It doesn’t mean Murray would have dealt the star, but he would have inquired.

After losing Justin Schultz for nothing last summer to free agency, the Ducks were not too thrilled at the thought of losing another major asset and getting nothing in return come July. You can’t keep losing key assets that create gaping holes in your organization.

Murray, in fact, had chatted with Nashville GM David Poile about his experience with the Ryan Suter saga a year ago, which ended with the Predators ultimately deciding to keep the star blueliner and pending UFA because they held out hope they could still sign him after the season. You can imagine what Poile would have had to say to Murray in retrospect.

Perry understood everything at play. He decided if the deal was right, he’d stay on.

Perry met with his agents, Mark Guy and Pat Morris of Newport Sports, on Wednesday in Dallas, had a long heart-to-heart and went over all his options. Perry went home to discuss it one final time with his family and phoned his agents Friday to tell them he had decided that if they could negotiate a deal, he'd stay on. That led to long negotiations all weekend between Newport and the Ducks.

Against the popular betting, the Ducks got it done.

Perry and Getzlaf, both signed, sealed and delivered.

The Ducks now have about $53 million committed to 16 players for next season. They’re about $11 million under the $64.3 million salary cap for '13-14 as they look to fill out next season's roster. Perry's deal, as part of the new CBA, has a no-movement clause that kicked in upon the signing of the extension.

People immediately hit Twitter after the Perry signing and suggested that Bobby Ryan was a goner this summer. But I do not believe that the Ducks feel they have to move Ryan's deal (two more years at $5.1 million per). The Ducks have expiring contracts on their roster and Ryan's deal easily fits into their plans. That's not to say if they get an offer they can't refuse they wouldn't listen, but a source close to the situation told ESPN.com Tuesday that the Ducks aren't going into the offseason with the idea of moving Ryan.

You also have to see what happens with veteran Finnish wingers Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, both UFAs after the season, And, certainly in the case of the Finnish Flash, perhaps this is finally it. He won’t decide that until the summer.

For now, it’s all about a run at the Stanley Cup for the Anaheim Ducks, who have removed the gigantic distractions of the Getzlaf/Perry contract situations with two-plus weeks to spare before the trade deadline.

What a story indeed.

Need to know: Look out, here come the Ducks

March, 19, 2013

Move over, Chicago. It’s Anaheim’s time to shine.

Had it not been for the Blackhawks' sensational streak to start the season, the Ducks would’ve been the ones commanding all the attention as the league’s hottest (and frankly, most surprising) team out West.

Now they are finally getting their chance to hog the spotlight.

As ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun pointed out, it was a massive coup for the organization and Ducks general manager Bob Murray to lock up both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to eight-year extensions, and the strength of their play this season was a big reason.

On the same night that the Ducks announced the eight-year, $69 million extension for Perry on the in-game scoreboard, the Ducks racked up their franchise-record 12th straight home win, topping the Sharks 5-3 in a well-rounded effort.

With Getzlaf, Perry, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan, the Ducks have been a team that has boasted top talent in recent years, but it’s the contributions they’ve received up and down their lineup that have been the difference this season.

A glance at last night’s scoresheet is a prime example.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin tallied twice for the Ducks, while Southern California product Emerson Etem scored his first NHL goal and both Peter Holland and Getzlaf (short-handed) chipped in with second-period markers of their own as the Ducks improved to 21-3-4.

Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik, two pleasant surprises in providing secondary scoring for the Ducks, also found their way onto the scoresheet with one and two assists, respectively.

And let’s not forget goaltender Viktor Fasth, whose scorching start to the season continued as he collected his 11th win, turning away 32 of 35 shots.

Nabbing 17 of 20 points in the past 10 games (7-0-3), Bruce Boudreau’s Ducks are now nipping at Chicago’s heels with 46 points, only five points behind the Western Conference leaders.

Is it not impossible to suggest that Anaheim could close the gap and pass the front-runners before the regular season draws to a close?

Not only are the Blackhawks without Patrick Sharp, but the Ducks have the benefit of now playing eight of their next 12 games at home, including the next four straight.

And guess who is next up to make a trip to the Honda Center?

You guessed it, Chicago.

The Blackhawks enter Wednesday’s match on a three-game winning streak after Monday’s 5-2 win in Colorado, looking to create some separation at the top of the heap.

With these two teams battling for bragging rights in the West, it promises to be nothing short of one of the marquee matchups of the season.

Video: SoCal battle: Kings or Ducks?

February, 26, 2013
While the Los Angeles area might have two of the hottest teams in the league right now, there are still questions looming for both the Ducks and Kings.

Even with the Kings winning on Monday night, Barry Melrose still likes the Ducks as the better team in L.A. right now.

Kings extend hot streak, slow Ducks in win

February, 25, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- Slava Voynov scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 Monday night for their fourth consecutive victory while snapping the Ducks' six-game winning streak.

For the full story, click this link.

DUCKS: Matt Smaby signs one-year deal

July, 2, 2012
ANAHEIM -- Defenseman Matt Smaby has signed a one-year deal to return to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks announced the deal Monday. Anaheim also signed right wing Richard Rakell to a three-year deal.

Smaby played 30 games for the Ducks' AHL affiliate in Syracuse last season after a serious thumb injury sidelined him for three months, preventing him from competing for an NHL job.

Smaby played 32 games during the 2010-11 season for Tampa Bay. He has bounced between the AHL and the NHL for the past five seasons.

Rakell spent the past two seasons playing junior hockey in Ontario after arriving from his native Sweden. He was the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Ducks.
Scott Burnside catches up with Anaheim Ducks second-round pick Nic Kerdiles , a native of Irvine, to discuss his selection and future plans. Burnside also wrote a nice story about Kerdiles, which can be found at this link.

Kings: Great start, better finish in 4-2 win vs. Ducks

March, 16, 2012

ANAHEIM -- It may have taken three-fourths of the season, but the Kings are finally playing well from start to finish.

They scored three goals in the opening period Friday night against the Ducks and held on to win their third straight game, 4-2, at Honda Center, keeping them in the thick of the six-team race for the final three playoff spots in the Western Conference.

“Our starts have been excellent,” said Justin Williams, who scored the final goal of the opening period with 7.1 seconds remaining. "Although we’ve kind of made them interesting a little bit of late, we’ve still been able to close them out, so I think our starts have been a real key to our success."

They couldn’t say that before acquiring Jeff Carter in a trade Feb. 23. In fact, they were by far the lowest-scoring first-period team in the NHL at that point.

In the 10 games since Carter arrived from the Columbus Blue Jackets, however, the Kings have outscored their opponents, 17-6, in the opening period. In the previous 61 games, they managed just 28 first-period goals. They've since moved from 30th in the league in first-period scoring to 28th.

“It certainly helps to get your legs underneath you,” said Anze Kopitar, who also scored in the opening 20 minutes.

Carter didn’t score against the Ducks, but seems to be attracting enough attention that others are getting more scoring opportunities.

Alec Martinez gave the Kings a 1-0 lead just 2:40 into the game when he fluttered a point shot through traffic and into the net. Kopitar then scored at the 9:33 mark when he made a nice move around former teammate Lubomir Visnovsky and made an even better shot into the top left corner.

Williams finished off the first-period scoring when a turnover by Corey Perry turned into a 2-on-1 with he and Drew Doughty.

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Kings: Ducks cut deficit to 3-1 on Cam Fowler goal

March, 16, 2012
After the 2nd period:

Kings 3, Ducks 1

The good: Through the first half of this game, the Kings were nearly on pace to match their 20-year-old franchise record for shots on goal (59). They had 28 with just under 10 minutes left in the second period and sit at 33 as we head into the third. The Ducks have managed 14. The busiest stick belongs to rookie forward Dwight King, who has seven shots on goal and none off the mark. Twenty more minutes of similar play and the Kings can start thinking about their next must-win game, Saturday night against visiting Nashville.

The bad: The Kings opened the door a crack and the Ducks stepped in early in the period. Drew Doughty went to the penalty box for holding and, 24 seconds later, Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler rifled a slap shot through traffic and through the pads of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, his first goal in 47 games. The goal also ended the Kings’ streak of 33 consecutive penalty kills.

The in between: Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is making his 31st consecutive start in goal to extend his franchise record. His best stop of the night came with about 2:30 left in the second period, when Dustin Brown came at him on a 2-on-1. Brown tried to shove the puck through the short side, but Hiller shot his left pad out to stop the shot, even though his eyes seemed to be scanning for a possible cross pass. Brown is trying to earn a point in his career-best 10th consecutive game.

Kings: Martinez, Kopitar, Williams score for 3-0 lead on Ducks

March, 16, 2012
After the 1st period:

Kings 3, Ducks 0

The good: Three points back of the final playoff spot heading into tonight, the Kings needed to get some early momentum and a three-goal lead certainly helps. They went up, 1-0, just 2:40 into the game on a point shot from defenseman Alec Martinez that knuckled through traffic and into the net. It was fourth-line rookie Jordan Nolan who cut in front of the crease with Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin in tow. That seemed to cause goalie Jonas Hiller to lose track of the puck because he acted like he never saw it coming. No assist for Nolan on the play but Colin Fraser and Matt Greene were given credit for one. The Kings took a 2-0 lead on a great individual effort by Anze Kopitar, who carried the puck with speed through the middle of the neutral zone and then appeared to surprise Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky by going wide. Kopitar made a great shot from the top of the left faceoff circle and beat Hiller up high on his glove side for his fifth goal in the last eight games. Greene received a second assist on the play, matching his career high for assists and points in a game. The Kings shut down Anaheim on its only power play of the period, extending their streak of kills to 33 straight. Shortly afterward, it appeared the Ducks might get into intermission trailing by just two, but Corey Perry, who was a game-time decision after sitting out the last two games with a right shoulder injury, tripped over the right skate of teammate Sheldon Brookbank as he skated backward with the puck in his offensive zone. He fell hard on his back and lost the puck to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, leading to a 2-on-1 with Justin Williams. Doughty smartly held the puck until the last season and then passed it to Williams on the opposite post and he tucked it in the net with 7.1 seconds left in the period.

The bad: About the only head-scratcher for the Kings is, where was this offense two months ago? Their playoff situation would be a lot more secure if they would have averaged more than two goals a game for the first two-thirds of the season.

The in between: Scoreboard watching here at Honda Center and it appears Pacific Division leader Dallas is on its way to losing against the Blackhawks. If that score holds up and the Kings win, they would be just three points back of the division lead. Calgary is also down by two goals midway through its game against the Oilers. The Flames are one of three teams the Kings need to pass to move back into the top eight. Unfortunately, a win tonight won’t get them there.

Kings/Ducks: Plenty at stake in this Freeway Faceoff

March, 16, 2012

Kings (33-25 -12, 78 points) vs. Ducks (30-30-11, 71 points) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. New identity – After a strong push that began in early January and carried into March, it looks like the Ducks have finally run out time to climb back from their dismal start. It's not mathematically official, but all signs indicate they've taken on the role of spoiler. Anaheim fans would like nothing more than to see their team put a dent in the Kings’ playoff hopes, and you can bet they'll loudly support such an endeavor. Just two days ago, the Kings had the same number of points as eighth-place San Jose. As they sat idle, other contenders added to their total, dropping the Kings three points back of the final playoff spot with 12 games to play.

2. Howdy Doughty – Following his worst four-game stretch of the season, and quite possibly his career, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played his best game Tuesday night in a 5-2 victory against the Red Wings, getting a goal, an assist and finishing with a season-high plus-3 rating. He was a combined minus-6 in the previous four games. Of all the teams in the league, Doughty owns the best plus-minus rating against the Ducks (plus-10), yet they’re also the only Western Conference team he has not scored against during his four-year career.

3. Mr. Big Shot – Kings center Jeff Carter has been good as advertised since coming over from the Blue Jackets last month in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson. After failing to register a point in his first three games with the Kings, he has five goals and two assists in the last six. Carter’s presence has been especially noticeable on the power play, where the Kings have scored on six of 20 man-advantage situations for a lofty 30 percent success rate. Carter has two of those power-play goals. He also started his recent hot streak against the Ducks, scoring two goals in a 4-2 victory on March 3.

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Ducks: Third-period turnaround lifts Anaheim over Oilers, 4-2

March, 5, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Corey Perry said it was probably the worst period of the season. From his view in front of the net, Jonas Hiller thought the Ducks looked scattered and disorganized. Bobby Ryan half expected coach Bruce Boudreau to barge through the locker room door during the second intermission and give his team an earful.

Instead, the Ducks stayed calm after getting outshot, 22-8, and losing their one-goal lead in the second period. Ryan scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third on a power play, and Perry added two more in the final five minutes, lifting the Ducks to a much-needed 4-2 win against the visiting Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center.

With the victory, Anaheim moved to within five points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 15 games remaining.

“We needed something to pop,” said Ryan, who scored his 25th goal of the season. “We finally got a power-play goal, which has been ever elusive for us the past five games, so we were able to build off that.”

Ryan’s goal was a thing of beauty. He caught the Oilers off guard on a line change and Teemu Selanne made a perfect stretch pass. Ryan collected the puck at full speed while racing toward the right post, cut in front of the net and dove as he flicked a backhand high into the net 8:09 into the final period.

“I came in behind the play because it was a weird [line] change and they were selling the farm there a little bit with four guys on the rush all night,” Ryan said. “I wasn’t sure if Teemu was going to see me but he put it in the perfect place for me to just skate right into it and not lose any speed, and the rest was just trying to make a move that I’m comfortable making.”

With the assist, Selanne picked up his 1,398th point of his career, tying him with childhood idol and fellow Finn, Jari Kurri, for 19th all time in the NHL.

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Kings: Good right to the last drop in win vs. Ducks

March, 4, 2012

LOS ANGELES--On a night in which Jeff Carter scored his first two goals for the Kings, Mike Richards matched his season-high with three assists and Dustin Brown continued his post-trade deadline scoring tear, L.A. wasn’t about to let this must-win get away.

Instead of digging in their skates and forming a defensive shell in the closing minutes of a one-goal game Saturday night at Staples Center, they mounted an attack on the visitor’s net, finishing off the game and possibly Anaheim’s playoff hopes with a 4-2 victory.

“The best way to fend off, especially in a desperate game, is to try and play in the offensive zone,” Brown said. “It just wears on their top players ... They don’t have enough energy, hopefully, to mount a comeback.”

A game after totaling a season-low 16 shots on net in a 4-0 victory Tuesday in Minnesota, the Kings were sitting on 14 shots on goal with just over seven minutes remaining against Anaheim. In a 21-second span, however, Richards, Dwight King and Carter shot the puck at Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and maintained the offensive-zone pressure until Anze Kopitar salted the win with an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.

“That’s the best defense right there,” said defenseman Matt Greene.

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Kings: Jeff Carter scores twice in 2nd period for 3-2 lead

March, 3, 2012
Kings 3, Ducks 2

The good: Welcome to L.A. Jeff Carter! It took 11 periods for Carter to get adjusted to his new surroundings, but he arrived in a big way in the second period, scoring two goals to give the Kings a much-needed lead heading into the third. We wrote in the game preview that we thought Carter might notch his first goal in a Kings’ uniform while on the power play and that’s exactly what happened. The power play has been on fire lately and Carter has been awarded a prime spot on the first unit. Carter was in the right spot to pounce on another rebound in front of the net and flicked it past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller just 2:39 into the period for L.A.’s second power-play goal in as many opportunities. Carter then showed what he can do in the slot, taking a pass from good buddy Mike Richards and hitting the corner of the net with 6:07 left in the period for a 3-1 lead.

The bad: In between Carter’s goals, the Kings had a 5-on-3 for 62 seconds but were unable to take advantage. That didn’t seem like such a big deal after Carter’s second goals, but 13 after he gave the Kings a two-goal lead, the Ducks struck back. Rookie forward Devonte Smith-Pelly skated down the right side and sent a seemingly harmless shot toward Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. The puck ended up sliding right through Quick’s pads while Carter’s goal was still being announced over the public-address system. Talk about a momentum killer.

The in between: The Kings seem to be more interested in the quality of shots vs. the quantity. After scoring four goals on a season-low 16 shots on goal Tuesday in Minnesota, the Kings have just 12 shots on net against the Ducks, but have converted on three … The most un-telling stat of the game? Kings winger Dustin Brown has no hits and is minus-2, but is actually playing a great game … The Blue Jackets knocked off the Coyotes, the Penguins beat the Avalanche and the Sharks are losing to the Blues, all of which is good news for both the Kings and Ducks ... the Kings are 20-6-2 when scoring a power-play goal this season.

Kings/Ducks: All square after first period, 1-1

March, 3, 2012
After the 1st period:

Kings 1, Ducks 1

The good: When scorers get on a hot streak, they usually end up in the right place at the right time. Kings winger Dustin Brown certainly was when he gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with 7:45 remaining in the opening period, his fifth goal in the last four games. The Kings were on the power play after Jeff Carter was slashed by Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa while driving towards the Anaheim net. The Kings second unit set up their power play in the offensive end. Slava Voynov slid the puck to the opposite point and Alec Martinez took a rip at the puck. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller made the initial stop, but he was so focused on keeping the puck away from Jarret Stoll that he swept it to his right, where Brown was waiting to flip it high into the net. Stoll didn’t get an assist on the play but he probably should have with the way he distracted Hiller.

The bad: The Ducks got even about 3 minutes later when they won a face off in their zone and defenseman Sheldon Brookbank took a slap shot from the point. Saku Koivu appeared to provide just enough of a screen to block the view of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and the puck sailed high into the net for his third goal of the season. Quick would bounce back to rob Teemu Selanne twice in the latter stages of the period.

The in between: The Kings had two shots on goal through the halfway point of the period, including a prime short-handed breakaway on an earlier power play, and the Ducks had four. Things heated up in the second half of the period, as the Kings finished with seven shots on net and the Ducks had 12. Stoll laid two big checks on his first shift, then was called for interference on his third, setting up the first of two power plays for the Ducks. Kings forward Colin Fraser and Ducks winger Matt Beleskey dropped the gloves 2:21 into the game. Beleskey got a better grab on Fraser’s jersey that ultimately allowed him to land some bigger right hands as the fight wore on.

Ducks, Kings

Kings/Ducks: Stakes even higher this time around

March, 3, 2012
Kings (29-23-12, 70 points) vs. Ducks (28-27-10, 66 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Must-win game – Neither team can afford to lose this one, not with eighth-place Dallas trying to separate itself from the pack by earning 11 points in the last six games. The Kings have had more down time than usual since winning in Minnesota, 4-0, on Tuesday, and enter this game three points back of the Stars. The Ducks scored in the final minute Friday night to defeat visiting Calgary, 3-2, and stay within seven points of Dallas. The Ducks also passed Minnesota in the standings with the win, leaving one less team between them and eighth place.

2. Shooting their foot – Two of L.A.’s four shootout victories this season have come against the Ducks. Of course, that was before Anaheim started its 2012 tear. Shootouts have played a key role for the Kings the last two seasons. They went 10-2 in shootouts last season, including a perfect 10-0 for No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick. If they go 7-5 in shootouts last season, they don't make the playoffs. This season, well, they’re 4-7, including a 4-6 mark by Quick. The way these teams know each other like the curve in their sticks, don't be surprised if this game ventures past regulation too.

3. Super Slava – Kings rookie defenseman Slava Voynov continues to make the Jack Johnson-for-Jeff Carter trade look better and better for L.A. He’s plus-3 with an assist since getting the call last week to fill Johnson’s spot on the blue line. His plus-7 in 36 games overall is best among Kings' defensemen. Not bad for someone who just turned 22 six weeks ago. He’s already shown a knack for scoring against the Ducks too, getting two of his four goals this season against Anaheim.

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