Anaheim Ducks Without Two Key Players In Season Opener Loss

Viktor Fasth
(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Before the puck had dropped for the Anaheim Ducks’ season opener against the Colorado Avalanche, I already had a sour taste in my mouth for two reasons. One being, after a lackluster performance during training camp, Dustin Penner was not in the lineup. Apparently, Penner did not leave a good impression during training camp with coach Bruce Boudreau,

“I just think you have to reward certain people for having good training camps and you have to make a point, if you don’t have a great training camp this isn’t just given to you,”

I’m not going to lie, despite being the brunt of endless pancake jokes and a career that has gone downhill since his departure with Anaheim, I am looking forward to the “PPG” line of Penner, Perry and Getzlaf. Most of us Ducks’ fans who had the satisfaction of watching the rookie line expect to see instant chemistry during the second go-around. Even if Penner doesn’t play with them, knowing that his best year of his career was with the Ducks leaves me to be optimistic. Undoubtedly, it would’ve been nice to see him play, but I didn’t expect Penner to be the hero of this game if he were to be in the lineup. I did though, expect to see another one of his teammates play.

The second thing I had questioned was Viktor Fasth got the nod to play between the pipes. Yes, he had a sensational rookie season last year with a 15-7-2 record along with four shutouts. Regardless, not having our number one netminder Jonas Hiller start was puzzling to me. Hiller put up almost identical numbers as Fasth last season and has maintained a winning record in the league – besides in ’10-’11 when he was battling the effects of vertigo. If we can’t trust Hiller to start our season opener then what type of message may that be sending to the rest of the players?

Not having Penner and Hiller isn’t the reason why they lost, but it makes me wonder if the outcome could’ve differed. Fasth gave up three goals in the second and was out shined by Semyon Varlamov. There’s a lot of what if’s once the game had been decided. What’s for certain is after the emotional 6-1 loss, the Ducks will hopefully take their frustration out on the scoreboard. And if that isn’t enough, I’m sure the words that came out of Patrick Roy’s mouth is enough to at least light a fire under Boudreau and Corey Perry.

For more information throughout the season follow me on twitter @m_drinnenberg and on Facebook here.