By Kyle Shohara
The schedule called for an 11 a.m. practice, but no players were to be found on the ice inside Honda Center. That’s because practice was cancelled, replaced instead with a lengthy video session inside the locker room.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said there was no point in practicing if it wasn’t going to make the team better. “Let’s go home and think about what happened,” he said, “and we’ll have the lineup on the board tomorrow. Just come to play.”
What happened last night was a 4-0 loss against a young and hungry Arizona Coyotes team that improved its record to 3-0-0, while the Ducks fell to 0-2-1 to start the season. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was blunt in his postgame assessment. “We’re playing like a team not playing for anything right now,” he said. “We just have to wake up. It’s about accountability throughout this locker room.”
“We asked the players for answers on why it has to be better,” Boudreau said, on using video instead of on-ice instruction today. “The tactic before was hard work on the ice. Now it’s about mental work off the ice.”
Andrew Cogliano says it comes down to work ethic and urgency, two necessities that have been lacking early on.
“Every team is hungry for the playoffs, and that’s how we need to be,” Cogliano said. “There’s this talk about what we should be, but if you’re not willing to work, you’re not even close. We have good players, and we’re confident that we have a good group of guys. It’s a matter of working together and playing the system properly, and playing hard.
“You can have to best players in the world, but if you don’t compete, it means nothing.”
Although Corey Perry said the conversations today among the players and coaching staff were “good,” the lack of execution and urgency isn’t sitting well. As one of the leaders on the Ducks, in this, his 11th season (all with Anaheim), Perry says it’s time for the team to perform up to its own lofty expectations.
“You have to go out and work hard,” Perry said. “It’s not going to come easy. You have to earn it; earn that respect. Everything starts at zero again, and you have to go out and earn it. We haven’t done that yet. You can say all the right things, but you have to go out and prove it."