Ducks Drill Down: More of the Same & Hall of Fame

‘Ducks Drill Down’ is a regular, ~weekly column that recaps the latest goings-on with the Anaheim Ducks.

The past week was very on-brand for this particular season of Anaheim Ducks hockey. They played decently well for stretches but not well enough to string several wins together. Then, of course, the incessant injury bug struck again.

In more positive news, Ducks legends Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne were in Toronto as they prepare for their official inductions into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

More Injuries…What Else Is New?

Earlier in the week, Anaheim announced that captain Ryan Getzlaf needed facial surgery to treat a fractured cheekbone suffered when he took a puck to his face against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Oct. 29. He could miss up to two months.

It didn’t end there for the already-battered Ducks. Ondrej Kase, who has proven to be one of the Ducks’ more dynamic forwards this season, suffered a head injury (likely a concussion) after a late hit from the Los Angeles Kings’ Kurtis MacDermid on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Kase had been producing, with five goals and three assists in 12 games, but he was placed on injured reserve and the exact timeline for his return is still unknown.

Fourth-line enforcer Jared Boll also suffered a lower-body injury in that Tuesday game, and he too was placed on IR. Boll actually scored against the Kings before his suffering his injury. While not an integral part of the team, his lack of availability reduces certainly doesn’t help Anaheim in terms of depth in this dire time. Anaheim has called up forward Kevin Roy as a result.

The Ducks have to hope Ondrej Kase, shown here against the Montreal Canadiens last season, is able to return to the lineup soon. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

The Ducks could not escape their next game unscathed either. Backup goaltender Ryan Miller suffered a lower-body injury in the third period of a game against his old team, the Vancouver Canucks, on Thursday night. His timetable is also uncertain. Miller already missed some time at the start of the season with a wrist injury, so he and the Ducks are hoping he can avoid another long setback here. He has played exceptionally well when he’s gotten the chance to do so this season.

Playing .500 Hockey

As for the results of their games, the Ducks once again treaded water, picking up three of a possible six points. Having entered the week with a record of 6-6-2, they now sit at 7-7-3 after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the league-best Tampa Bay Lightning.

The game against the local rival Kings was an incredibly entertaining affair, showing hockey fans that this might be the most fierce, consistently intense rivalry in the league right now. The MacDermid hit on Kase was a microcosm of the physicality and intensity of the game. The Ducks held leads of 2-0 and 3-1 but ultimately fell 4-3 in overtime. It was a game they let slip away, but they could have seen a worse fate than an overtime loss if not for Miller’s 16 saves in the third period.

Thursday featured a more even effort against the surprising Canucks. Anaheim skated to a 4-1 victory on the strength of two goals from Jakob Silfverberg, outshooting Vancouver 35-20 across the whole contest.

On Sunday, the Ducks faced a more difficult task against the league-leading Lightning. Tampa Bay was able to complete a California sweep by edging the Ducks 2-1. They outplayed Anaheim for much of the game, but the Ducks had a strong third-period surge that featured a controversial no-goal call before ultimately falling short.

The good news for the Ducks? Jakob Silfverberg, a player from whom they need more scoring, has three goals in his past two games after lighting the lamp for Anaheim’s only official goal against Tampa Bay. Silfverberg catching fire would go a long way in helping the Ducks stay afloat as they try to survive until more key players return to the lineup.

The other piece of good news is the power play. After struggling mightily with the man-advantage for basically the entire season, the Ducks struck for three power-play tallies against the Canucks. Three different players scored power-play goals in the game: Silfverberg and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Montour.

Jakob Silfverberg
Jakob Silfverberg looks like he is starting to heat up, which is great news for the Ducks. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Against the Lightning, the Ducks came up empty on the power play but looked extremely dangerous during their lone opportunity. A commitment to the 1-3-1 setup on the power play, as well as more aggression in getting pucks to the net, has seemed to do the trick.

Hall of Fame Inductions & Looking Ahead

Outside of the affairs of the current team, Monday will mark the official induction of former Ducks superstars Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne into the Hockey Hall of Fame. They each received word this past summer, and it’s fitting that Anaheim’s former dynamic duo will enter the Hall together.

Prior to that, the two experienced and provided fans with a bit of nostalgia, as they participated in the Haggar Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday. The game included a pretty goal from Kariya after Selanne dropped a nifty between-the-legs pass to him.

Despite the relaxed nature of the alumni game, Kariya’s performance is impressive considering it was the first time he had skated—let alone played hockey—in seven years since his final game. Having desired privacy following a career cut short by concussions, Kariya’s Hall-of-Fame induction and participation in this game might be significant steps in him getting back involved in hockey and specifically with the Ducks after a somewhat contentious departure from the club back in 2003

Paul Kariya
Paul Kariya’s potential renewed involvement in hockey and with the Ducks would be great news. (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images/NHLI)

Next Monday, Nov. 19, is Hall of Fame Night in Anaheim as the Ducks host the Florida Panthers at Honda Center. Kariya and Selanne will be honored in what is sure to be a special, emotional evening. With respect to Kariya, hopefully this is a sign that perhaps down the road, the Ducks will finally raise his conspicuously absent No. 9 to the rafters.

Before that Monday, the Ducks will have a light week, only playing a home contest against the Boston Bruins Wednesday night. The rest can only help the depleted Ducks at this point.