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Ah, Preseason Hockey

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

You wouldn't think there would be a lot of good things to say when the score is 7-4 in favor of the team that's not yours. But there were definitely some positives about last night's sloppy preseason debut between the Ducks and Coyotes at Honda Center:

- The score doesn't count in the standings.
- Several Ducks looked impressive out there.
- Hockey is back.
- We're doing it all again tonight.

Of the veterans out there last night, it may have been Anaheim newcomer Andrew Cogliano who impressed the most. Cogliano, a natural center who came to the Ducks from Edmonton over the summer, played left wing last night on a line with Teemu Selanne and young center Peter Holland (more on him in a bit). The speedy Cogliano responded with a goal and an assist, the goal coming in the second period when he crashed the net following a Holland shot that handcuffed former Ducks goalie Curtis McElhinney. Not only that, but "Cogs" had a pretty good take on the game afterward.

"The first game was a little sloppy on both sides," he said. "It’s tough to get a good feel. When you put a bunch of guys who just came to training camp, guys are nervous and young guys don’t really know what to expect. You’re bound for some sloppy games. I think that is what it was. As camp and the exhibition games go on, things start to clean up."

Of playing the wing, he said, "Hopefully I get a chance to play there and we'll see. This was the first time I've played left wing for a whole game, for the most part. I thought I did pretty well. I adjusted, in a good way. As the games go on, I'll get more comfortable."

Said Randy Carlyle of last night's game, "It’s all part of the process. If you look at our lineup, we played a lot of kids. That is what it’s designed for. You give kids an opportunity to get a taste of what the NHL is about."

One of those kids was the 20-year-old Holland, a 2009 Ducks first rounder who was admitedly tickled to be playing on a line with Cogliano and a guy 21 years his senior. "Playing with the Finnish Flash and Cogliano out there, sometimes they were going one way and I was still catching up going the other way," Holland said with a laugh (by the way, love that he called him "the Finnish Flash"). "It was quite a treat to play with those guys. Even if I get sent down to Syracuse now, what an honor it is to play with Teemu Selanne. The guy is going to be in the Hall of Fame one day. He’s a boyhood idol.

(Check out the postgame video of Holland and others.)

Ducks fans had to like what they saw in Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri, who played on a line with Saku Koivu for most of the night. The highlight came less than a minute into the second, when Etem dashed to his left to elude Yotes defenseman Dave Schlemko before delivering a pass to Palmieri on the doorstep for the redirect goal.

Alas, the Ducks gave up three goals in the third to allow Phoenix to pull away with 2011 second round pick John Gibson (who saved 14 of 17) in net.

Tonight at Honda Center, the Ducks are back at it again against the Sharks, with an almost entirely different cast of characters. Etem and Holland are back in the list of 24 for tonight (though four will be scratched), and the household names expected to play include Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, George Parros, Jason Blake, Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa, Francois Beauchemin and Sheldon Brookbank.

And if last season's preseason bloodbath between the Ducks and Sharks in San Jose is any indication (five fights in a two-minute span in the first period), having guys like Parros and JF Jacques out there could come in handy.

The goalies will be Finnish prospect Iiro Tarkki and Jeff Deslauriers, the offseason acquisition from Edmonton (expected to each play half a game, like Gibson and Igor Bobkov did last night).

#     Pos      Player
4     D          Cam Fowler
5     D          Luca Sbisa
9     LW       Bobby Ryan
10   RW      Corey Perry
15   C          Ryan Getzlaf
16   RW      George Parros
18   C         Mark Bell
19   LW      Jean-Francois Jacques
21   D         Sheldon Brookbank
23   D         Francois Beauchemin
25   D         Matt Smaby
33   LW      Jason Blake
40   D         Sean Zimmerman
41   RW      Andrew Gordon
45   RW      Brian McGrattan
57   C         Nicolas Deschamps
62   LW      Patrick Maroon
63   C         Nick Bonino
65   RW     Emerson Etem
73   D         Mat Clark
74   C         Peter Holland
78   C         Richard Schofield
31   G         Iiro Tarkki
43   G        Jeff Deslauriers

As was the case last night, players not appearing in tonight's game will be working at various spots around Honda Center. Here is the list for tonight (subject to change):

Team Store (6:00 – 7:00): Dan Ellis, Andrew Cogliano and Jonas Hiller
Fanzone Outside Section 214 (6:00-7:00): Matt Beleskey and Lubomir Visnovsky
Will Call (6:30 – 7:00): Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu 
Oggi’s Concession Stand at Section 203 (6:00 – 7:00): Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelly, Dan Sexton and Brandon McMillan

And again, if you're not here, the radio broadcast will be available on the website (we're working on the issue for Mac users), and I will again be doing a live game log. We had some technical difficulties with the latter last night, but they appear to be solved by the league.

(Yes, it was the preseason for everybody last night.)

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