Frustrated by a stretch that has seen them lose seven straight and 16 of the last 18, the Ducks made some small adjustments in their return to practice Monday afternoon at Honda Center.
“We’re looking to stimulate some people here, simple as that,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. “We’re not going to keep going on and on into oblivion the way we’re playing.
"We believe it’s our responsibility to find different ways to stimulate these guys. Sometimes it’s a tweak here and a tweak there. We’ve done a lot of tweaking and a lot of talking. Now it’s about action.”Carlyle, Ryan and Maxwell Video
Among those tweaks was reassigning center Brandon McMillan
to Syracuse of the AHL this morning. McMillan, who had a solid rookie season last year with 11 goals in 60 games, wasn’t providing the same production this season. He had no goals and three points in 16 games while playing mostly on Anaheim’s third and fourth lines.
“I just felt Mac has more to give,” Carlyle said. “He was a very useful player for us last year and he hasn’t been able to find that same level. He’ll go down and play some big minutes and get an opportunity to get his game back."
|"We had a couple good shifts together last night, and I think we just wanted to keep together the line of Beleskey, Perry and Getzlaf,” Maxwell said. “We just shuffled it around a little and it can’t hurt. It’s two guys who are really good with the puck and quick with the puck and can create space out there. Hopefully we can put a couple in the net.” |
McMillan was called up November 21 last year and didn’t miss a game the rest of the way. “The radar and the adrenaline he was able to provide and play under, pushed him through. He got an opportunity to play some larger minutes with some higher level players and the rest of our group played at a higher level too. I just felt that right from training camp [this season], his commitment to the things he’s done well here wasn’t the same.”
Carlyle did some shuffling with the rest of his group in today’s practice, moving Bobby Ryan
off the top line to play with new Ducks Niklas Hagman
and Ben Maxwell. Matt Beleskey
, who cleared waivers early last week and went on to play in Friday’s loss to Chicago and yesterday’s defeat to Toronto, was placed on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf
and Corey Perry
Maxwell has played four games with the Ducks since being claimed off waivers from Winnipeg on November 10 and has no points. He was scoreless in four games with the Jets earlier in the year. Hagman, an 11-year veteran, has yet to register a point in five games with Anaheim since being claimed off waivers November 14, but his energy on the ice has been evident. He had a goal in eight previous games with Calgary and has scored 20 or more in three different seasons.
“We’ve always been trying to formulate a line that can play some minutes in our third slotting, and putting Bobby there should give them an opportunity to be a little more offensive,” Carlyle said. “Hagman has no problem playing either side, and with Maxwell, his statistics are basically eight games played and he hasn’t gotten anything to show for it. So we’ve got to try to stimulate some people to create some offense here.
“Does it take away from Getzlaf, Perry and Bobby Ryan
? Yeah, when you break that up it does. But we can always go back to it, and it gives us an option to move Beleskey up and spread out a little more skill. We’ll practice that way for a couple of days and see how it goes.”
Ryan appeared comfortable with the switch, being open to anything that can turn the Ducks’ recent fortunes. “The ping pong balls came out that way today,” he said. “I don’t necessarily have a problem with it. Ben is still a guy we’re all trying to get to know and see what he’s like on the ice. You can tell he’s got some skill and some playmaking ability. Hags has been in the league 10 years or so and he’s been through the wringer, and certainly he knows how to play the game. I thought we had some chemistry right out of the gate today and moved the puck pretty well, so I’m excited for it.”
|“We’re looking to stimulate some people here, simple as that,” said Carlyle. “We’re not going to keep going on and on into oblivion the way we’re playing. We believe it’s our responsibility to find different ways to stimulate these guys. Sometimes it’s a tweak here and a tweak there. We’ve done a lot of tweaking and a lot of talking. Now it’s about action.” |
Those three played a little bit together last night, in the midst of a disappointing 5-2 defeat to the Maple Leafs in which the Ducks scored first, but gave up three unanswered.
“We had a couple good shifts together last night, and I think we just wanted to keep together the line of Beleskey, Perry and Getzlaf,” Maxwell said. “We just shuffled it around a little and it can’t hurt. It’s two guys who are really good with the puck and quick with the puck and can create space out there. Hopefully we can put a couple in the net.”
The Ducks could use that kind of offensive charge from their third line, just one of the units that has struggled during a wearisome stretch that has lasted close to six weeks.
“It gets harder to come to the rink every day like this,” Ryan said. “For our leaders, and our ultimate leader in Randy, there is certainly no acceptance. He comes to the rink every day trying to find a way to get out of the rut. He’s methodical and he’s trying different things. He’s in charge of the room and he’s making sure we’re taking the right steps forward.
“We’ve had guys who have won Cups and everything else, guys who have played in this league a long time and have never really gone through this. So, there is no acceptance.”Notes
Goalie Dan Ellis
was not on the ice today, and he had an ultrasound today to determine the severity of his groin injury, according to Carlyle. The Ducks will learn more about the extent of his injury tomorrow. Meanwhile, Jeff Deslauriers
, who was called up yesterday from Syracuse, remains the backup to Jonas Hiller