Discussion

Depth key to Ducks' Cup chances

Updated: May 1, 2013, 10:46 AM ET
By Craig Custance

ANAHEIM -- The nicknames are starting to pile up for Anaheim Ducks center Nick Bonino. For most of the year, it was simply Bones. Pretty self-explanatory for a guy with the last name Bonino.

But his growth into a critical member of the Ducks power play has added to the names. One of his strengths on the power play is puck retrieval, so at times they call him the retriever.

"The guys make fun of me for my retrieving," he said after the Ducks' 3-1 win over Detroit on Tuesday. "A retriever not a receiver."

And when they realized just how crucial he was to the success of their power play when he missed six weeks with a lower-body injury, they started calling him "The Answer." Kind of like Allen Iverson.

"Yeah, AI," said Ben Lovejoy.

There's another nickname.

"I don't even listen to them," Bonino said. "Retriever, The Answer, it's ridiculous."

This is exactly the time of year when guys like Bonino come to the forefront. Every single team that advances this far has star players. It's the depth guys who make a difference, and one of the best-kept secrets about the Ducks' success this season is they're as deep as they've been in years. This is no longer a top-heavy team that is overly dependent on Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan.

Bonino scored the first goal of the postseason for the Ducks, and Teemu Selanne's third-period goal held up because Anaheim's checking line of Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik and Andrew Cogliano managed to keep Detroit's top line featuring Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg off the scoresheet.

It's one of the things that separates this Ducks playoff series against the Red Wings from some of the past between these two rivals. The Ducks have the depth, while the Red Wings are still trying to develop it.

MORE NHL HEADLINES