Ryan Kesler’s ‘Between Two Zambonis’ returns, Kevin Bieksa is his latest target

Jared Clinton
Kevin Bieksa on 'Between Two Zambonis' (via Anaheim Ducks/YouTube)

Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa have spent a decade as teammates. First, they played together with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and, post-lockout, they both suited up for the Vancouver Canucks.

But in 2014-15, Kesler found himself in Anahiem playing for the Ducks. It just so happened, however, that the Ducks also coveted Bieksa and went out and acquired the blueliner this past off-season, reuniting Kesler and Bieksa, former roommates, once again.

Well, that familiarity has bred quite a relationship between Kesler and Bieksa, and it was on full display during the second season debut of Kesler’s “web series” ‘Between Two Zambonis.’ Come for the laughs between two good friends, stay for the jokes about Bieksa’s relationship with Corey Perry: Read more

Watch Roberto Luongo rob Chris Stewart with desperation blocker save

Jared Clinton
Roberto Luongo (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Now that he’s 36, no one is going to be fooled into thinking Florida Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo is the same goaltender who was a Vezina Trophy candidate three times in seven seasons. But Luongo remains one of the most successful goaltenders in NHL history, and he still has more than a few moments of brilliance left in his pads.

Take Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks, for instance. The Panthers were leading 2-1 and the Ducks were pressing late in the third period while on the power play when a puck was worked back to defenseman Cam Fowler. Fowler teed up a blast from the blueline which Luongo turned aside, but a juicy rebound found its way to the Ducks’ Chris Stewart.

Stewart had time to wind up and put his own blast on goal, but Luongo dove to his left, threw his hands up and was able to knock Stewart’s attempt down and cover the puck: Read more

Anaheim pick up second win on two goals in 12 seconds, and Ducks could be coming to life

Jared Clinton
Andrew Cogliano celebrates (Harry How/Getty Images)

By the time the Anaheim Ducks had completed their eighth game of the season, there were whispers that a team thought to be a Western Conference powerhouse coming into the campaign might be one of the biggest busts in 2015-16.

After Game 8, the Ducks had been shutout for a second consecutive contest and for a fifth time in their first eight tilts. Anaheim had lost seven of its first eight outings, and the offense had six goals total, which included a four-goal outburst against the Minnesota Wild in the Ducks’ only victory of the season. Then, in their ninth game, Anaheim got out to a 3-0 lead against the Dallas Stars only to drop the contest 4-3. Game 10 was another defeat, this time 2-1 at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. That’s not including the team had lost star center and captain Ryan Getzlaf to appendicitis. If it could go wrong, it was for the Ducks.

Because of the Ducks’ start, there were rumblings about the security of coach Bruce Boudreau’s job and questions regarding the possibility of GM Bob Murray shaking up his roster to give the team a much-needed boost. But Murray spoke to media Friday and said he believed things were heading in the right direction.

“We were one game away from the Final just five months ago,” Murray said in a statement. “So while this has been a terrible start, I’m not inclined to make rash changes. I’m going to be patient. That said, we are severely underperforming as a group. I can’t recall a time where a vast majority of our players have underachieved simultaneously, and I fully expect a turnaround.”

Sunday evening, the Ducks played their first game since Murray addressed the media. And their GM’s good faith was rewarded in the first frame, especially in a 12-second span when Sami Vatanen and Andrew Cogliano rifled home goals: Read more

Was Shawn Horcoff’s hit on Vladimir Tarasenko clean?

Matt Larkin
Horcoff Tarasenko

How many more injuries to star players can the St. Louis Blues take if they want to remain competitive in the cutthroat Central Division?

Patrik Berglund’s shoulder surgery has him out until the New Year. Young gun Robby Fabbri is concussed. Paul Stastny broke his foot. Jaden Schwartz broke his ankle.

And yet, none of those significant injuries holds a candle to the potential dagger the Blues were dealt Thursday night.

In the second period of St. Louis’ home tilt with Anaheim, checking center Shawn Horcoff collided with the Blues’ prized asset, the $7.5-million dollar man: Vladimir Tarasenko. Gulp. The scariest part about the blow is that the impact got Tarasenko high, near the head, and low, knee on knee, all at once.

Thanks to GIF dynamo Stephanie Vail, we have multiple angles of the hit. Here’s one:

Read more

Ducks’ Wagner throws awesome hit, sends Stars defenseman Oleksiak into bench

Jared Clinton
Chris Wagner puts Jamie Oleksiak into the Dallas bench (via Streamable)

Say what you will for a big open-ice hit or beautifully thrown hip check, it’s hard to beat a jolt that sends a player flipping over the boards and into the bench. And because of that, during Tuesday’s contest between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars, AHL call-up Chris Wagner produced one of the most fun hits of the season thus far.

With less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period and the score tied 3-3, Anaheim’s Wagner lined up Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak and levelled him with a hit that sent Stars blueliner for an involuntary line change: Read more

Ducks woes get worse, Getzlaf on the shelf 1-2 weeks with appendicitis

Jared Clinton
Ryan Getzlaf (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks have been shutout in five of their first eight games, are in a tie for last place in the Pacific Division and have one of the league’s worst goal-differentials at minus-15. One would think the Ducks might be due for a break, but instead the bad news got worse.

Anaheim announced Tuesday evening that captain Ryan Getzlaf will need a non-emergency appendectomy and is set for surgery Wednesday. The Ducks said Getzlaf has been dealing with, “discomfort intermittently over the last six weeks,” and following surgery will be out of action approximately four to 12 days. Read more

Ducks’ scoring woes due mostly to bad luck, and that can’t last forever

Dominik Luszczyszyn
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. (Getty Images)

There have been a few surprises to start the season so far, but nothing has been more shocking than the Anaheim Ducks’ anemic offense. The team has just six goals in eight games so far and they’ve been shutout five times. The Ducks were seen by many prognosticators as a legit Stanley Cup contender going into the season, but so far they’ve been laying giant goose eggs all over the scoresheet.

The slow start has even caused some speculation about Bruce Boudreau’s job safety and when a team with Cup aspirations starts 1-5-2 that’s not particularly surprising. There’s a giant magnifying glass over this team because it’s the first eight games, but that’s a tad unfair. These games shouldn’t be treated much differently from games in December or January just because they’re at the beginning of the year.

The Ducks have been one of the league’s best teams since Boudreau stepped behind the bench and opinions shouldn’t change based on just eight games, especially considering how unlucky those eight games have been.

Anaheim currently has a shooting percentage of just 2.6 percent which is insanely low. In each of the previous three seasons that number was north of nine percent and the team finished in the top ten each season.

Hockey Graph’s Dawson Sprigings (or @DTMAboutHeart on Twitter) has developed an ‘expected goals’ model that takes into account the quality of every shot a team takes and according to those numbers, the Ducks should be scoring 2.43 goals per game. That’s about 19 goals for the season that the Ducks should have which is 13 more goals than they’ve actually scored. If every six goals is roughly equal to one win, that’s essentially two wins lost in the first eight games.

To say they’ve been unlucky is putting things mildly. The Ducks have taken 223 shots so far this season and if their expected goals is around 19 than their shooting percentage should be around 8.7 percent. If every shot has an 8.7 percent chance of scoring on average, than the Ducks scoring just six goals on 223 shots will happen about 0.02 percent of the time. That’s insanely unlikely.

Over the last decade, just 12 teams have scored a goal or less per game over an eight game stretch and only one team (last year’s Sabres) has scored less than Anaheim’s current mark of six. Anaheim’s shooting percentage is the lowest of any team in any eight game stretch since 2005-06.


There’s a bunch of really bad teams keeping the Ducks company, but there are two teams on the list that might make fans feel more at ease. In 2013-14, both the St. Louis Blues and the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings had a serious eight-game funk that mirrored Anaheim’s 2015-16 start. Both teams ended up relatively fine.

There’s also the fact that most of teams on the list were from the past two seasons. That’s a lot of recent teams experiencing drastic scoring woes and the reason for that is likely the increased difficulty of scoring. Goalie save percentages keep climbing which means that this kind of dry spell might become more common in the future. A team is more likely to post poor offensive numbers if they have a lower baseline and stronger goaltending league-wide lowers that for every team.

The bottom line here is that it isn’t time to panic just yet. The Ducks haven’t played very well yet, but they’re also not getting any bounces on offense. No team will look good when those two things collide. Think of how amazing Carey Price has been the past two seasons and then consider the fact that the goalies the Ducks have faced have been collectively better than that. That doesn’t add up.

These guys didn’t just forget how to score overnight. The goals will come. Sometimes, you’ll face a goalie who’s on top of his game and there’s not much you can do about it. Sometimes, you’ll face that goalie eight games in a row. That’s what’s happening to the Ducks right now, but don’t bank on it to continue.