Despite still being eight days away from their next home game, the Ducks were back in town for practice on Wednesday at The Rinks – Anaheim Ice.
|“Now, everybody has to raise their level,” he said. “I know for sure that if we all can say ‘Wow, I had a good game tonight’ that means we are going to win as a team a lot. That is our challenge right now." |
Squaring off with the Kings tomorrow night at Staples Center, Anaheim would love nothing more than to put its road ills to the wayside in the fourth round of the Freeway Face-Off rivalry. The Ducks have just two wins away from Honda Center thus far in 2011-12, with their last coming nearly two months ago on October 27 at Minnesota.
“You have to play to win,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We have to find something to turn it around. There are an awful lot of road games left in the season. It’s something we have to change. We are trying to find ways.”Post-Practice Video
Arguably Anaheim’s best player this season has been its oldest in Teemu Selanne
, who leads the team with 35 points in 33 games. He is currently on a nine-game scoring streak that is tied with Chicago’s Patrick Sharp (whose streak ended last night, for the longest in the NHL this season). The Finnish Flash’s streak is also the longest in league history by a player age 41-or-older.
“Am I that old?” said Selanne after practice. “I haven’t really thought about that too much. To be honest, it doesn’t really make me feel much better with the situation that we have right here. What else can you do? You just try your best, do what you can do and help this team. Individual stuff is not really my goal, and it hasn’t been ever.”
Even with his strong numbers, Selanne believes no player in the Ducks locker room has played to his full potential yet. “Now, everybody has to raise their level,” he said. “I know for sure that if we all can say ‘Wow, I had a good game tonight’ that means we are going to win as a team a lot. That is our challenge right now.
“We just do those mistakes over and over. There is so much hard work going nowhere. We have to mix the smartness in also. We haven’t worked hard and smart at the same time. There is a big difference. We all know the line between winning and losing is so small. One mistake, one power play, one blocked shot, that can be the big difference.”
In the club’s last meeting on December 6 in Anaheim, the Ducks came away with a hard-fought 3-2 victory for Boudreau’s first win as the team’s head coach. This time around, the Kings will be playing their first game with their own new boss behind the bench. Darryl Sutter, who has coached previously with Calgary (also served as the Flames GM) and San Jose, took over this week for the fired Terry Murray.
|“You have to play to win,” Boudreau said. “We have to find something to turn it around. There are an awful lot of road games left in the season. It’s something we have to change. We are trying to find ways.” |
“It really doesn’t matter what they’ve been in the past,” Boudreau said. “I have to believe they will play their best game of the year tomorrow. When they get a new coach, especially one with a reputation of being a tough taskmaster and an intimidator like Darryl is, I think they’ll put their best foot forward and come out of the gates storming.”
Boudreau is quite familiar with Sutter from their playing days. The two were teammates first on the New Brunswick Hawks of the AHL and the duo led the club with a combined 156 points in the 1979-80 season. They later played joined forces for on the 1985-86 Chicago Blackhawks, a team Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray was also on.
“He played on my left wing in New Brunswick,” Boudreau said. “He had a great release. He always had the Sutter ability of hating to lose, which was a great trait. I think the guys will find that right off the bat, how competitive he is. They might not see how good of a person he is for awhile, but he is a great guy. (Coaching) is where he belongs. He started out as a coach and his forte is coaching. He has a great hockey mind. I think he’ll do great. I just don’t want him to great against us.”
Boudreau ruled out Saku Koivu
(groin strain) for tomorrow night’s game against the Kings. “He skated today,” he said. “He’s getting better. That phrase, getting better, I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what percentages it is. We’re hoping he is playing before the calendar year is out. Right now, that is the hope.”