Ducks Radio Analyst
|“We have to do some things for ourselves here,” Carlyle said. “We have to make some things happen for ourselves. We have to definitely compete to a higher level than we did last night.” |
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Some soul-searching was in order after the Ducks opened the post-Christmas portion of their schedule with Sunday night’s disappointing 4-1 loss to the Kings at Staples Center.
Coach Randy Carlyle held individual meetings with players before and after Monday’s afternoon practice session at Jobing.com Arena, where the Ducks prepared for a Tuesday night date with the Phoenix Coyotes.
“We have to do some things for ourselves here,” Carlyle told media members. “We have to make some things happen for ourselves. We have to definitely compete to a higher level than we did last night.”
After playing well during a scoreless first period Sunday, the Ducks needed only 32 seconds to respond to a goal by Kings winger Wayne Simmonds, tying the score when minor-league call-up Matt Beleskey
scored his first goal of the season just 47 seconds into the second period.
The Kings, though, scored three unanswered goals in the final 10:50 of the second period, with the Ducks displaying little resistance the rest of the way. The Ducks generated only five shots on goal, including just three in the third period, after Anze Kopitar gave the Kings a 2-1 lead less than halfway through the game.
“It’s always disappointing when you don’t have the necessary passion to have success – it’s as simple as that,” Carlyle said. “We talked about it. We’ve had conversation about it. We’re continually talking with our players today about it.
“Sometimes it takes an awakening. We hope the game last night in LA is that for our hockey club.”
|“This is a way to clear the air, just go and talk and give opinions,” Selanne said. “It’s so important, in sports and in life also. Even if it can hurt sometimes, in the long run that’s the only way you’re going to have success. A lot of times, when you are able to say something that has been on your chest for a long time, it’s going to be really good in the long run.” |
Such individual meetings between coach and players are nothing new. In past seasons, veteran right wing Teemu Selanne
said, Carlyle would sit down with each player every 20 games or so. What has been markedly different this year is the club’s incredibly heavy schedule the first half of the season – the Ducks have played an NHL-high 39 games – has left little time for anything other than getting ready for the next game.
“This is a way to clear the air, just go and talk and give opinions,” Selanne said. “It’s so important, in sports and in life also. Even if it can hurt sometimes, in the long run that’s the only way you’re going to have success. A lot of times, when you are able to say something that has been on your chest for a long time, it’s going to be really good in the long run.”
Center Ryan Getzlaf
, in his first season as Ducks captain, viewed Monday’s goings-on as a learning experience.
“Those things are all kind of what you take out of them,” Getzlaf said. “As long as you go in with the right attitude, that you’re going to talk, say what you need to say and listen to what’s being said, we can take a definite positive out of that. I know, for myself, it helps to clarify some things so we can work together to turn the ship around. That’s what this is all about.”
With losses in four of their past five games after having climbed a season-high four games over the break-even mark, the Ducks have fallen to 18-17-4, into fourth place in the Pacific Division and 10th in the Western Conference. Given that every other team in the West has between two and five games in hand, the Ducks really aren’t even in as good a shape as a casual glance at the standings suggests.
Tuesday’s 5-2 loss at Buffalo was ugly enough, but at least that result could be attributed in part to the fact it was the Ducks’ fifth game in seven nights. Fatigue certainly couldn’t have been a factor Sunday against the Kings, given that the Ducks had just enjoyed a four-day holiday break.
“We came out in that first period, and we played a decent period,” Getzlaf said. “Then we came out in the second period and we were flat. That’s not our hockey and not what we stand for here with the Ducks. It definitely won’t happen again. We need to take that upon ourselves in here and realize those things, and I think we did last night.”
Getzlaf called the upcoming game against Phoenix “probably a bit of a reality check for us.
|“You have to play this game with heart and passion,” Getzlaf said. “If you don’t, teams will walk all over you. It’s not always about winning or losing. It’s about putting in effort and making sure we have an opportunity to win." |
“You have to play this game with heart and passion,” he said. “If you don’t, teams will walk all over you. I think tomorrow night is going to be a good time for us to get back on the horse. It’s not always about winning or losing. It’s about putting in effort and making sure we have an opportunity to win. You’re not going to win every night in this league, but as long as we put ourselves in a situation where we have an opportunity to win, we’re doing our jobs.”
The meetings with players, Carlyle said, resulted in “some interesting feedback.
“At times, there are certain things that enlighten you as a coach that you never would have thought of, but I’m sure there are some things that I said to them that have enlightened some of them,” Carlyle said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s about give and take here, gathering as much information and setting a plan in place to go forward. Our plan is on a day-to-day basis, from a preparation standpoint. Then the big picture takes care of itself if you can look after the little things along the way. Obviously we have to win some hockey games.”
And the sooner, the better.
“It’s also a confidence issue here,” Selanne said. “I think we just need a couple of good games to get rolling again, and get that winning-spirit feeling back in this dressing room. I think these meetings are going to be really good for us.”