Right now, the Anaheim Ducks do not look like a team that is supposed to threaten deep into the playoffs. They look like a team lacking inspiration and execution. Ryan Getzlaf couldn’t have put it any better after their 4-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes:
More Getzlaf on Coyotes: “They’re playing with passion. … They had kids that were out there excited to play and we weren’t.”
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) October 15, 2015
At this point, the Ducks shouldn’t have to get excited for any game. They should be excited for every game. It’s a troubling quote for all Ducks fans to think about because it seems like their top players need motivation to show up for a regular season game. But even if a team is not a playoff rival or one of the top-measured teams in the league, they shouldn’t need any extra desire to get to the rink and play the game they love.
It’s not just player inspiration that’s a problem in Anaheim right now. Everyone is out of sync setting up plays and making simple passes. Ryan Kesler had this to add after the 4-0 loss to Arizona:
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 15, 2015
What he’s talking about is the lack of offense the Ducks have had. That lack has come from one-and-done offensive attacks and the absent passing plays under the circles the Ducks are known for.
Andersen’s Silver Lining
Frederik Andersen has been more than good in the net to start the season. With Gibson’s contract being signed, many wondered what the fate of the Danish netminder would be. Andersen has shown he deserves to be the number one goaltender more than once since the beginning of last season. In his first two and a half games (replaced Khudobin in Coyotes game), Andersen has faced 90 shots and allowed only four goals. If it weren’t for Andersen the Ducks would have been embarrassed by San Jose and Arizona.
It’s also not fair to blame Khudobin for his performance against Arizona. The team tightened up their play in the defensive end after Andersen came in and started spending more time in the offensive zone in the second half of the game. His strong pre-season is still, hopefully, what Bruce Boudreau judges him on instead of the game against Arizona.
Pat Maroon demoted?
Patrick Maroon has always been judged on his performance because he is usually paired with the venerable Perry and Getzlaf. Since the beginning of training camp he has not seen time with the top line. He was moved to the top line in the game against Arizona, but then again Boudreau had the forward line blender going and everyone moved around once Anaheim was down by four goals.
Maroon on the top line means that the Ducks can cycle the puck below the circles in a much more effective way. Maroon is a specialist at playing against the boards and holding onto the puck behind the netminder. This change alone could be a big difference for the offense of the Ducks.