|This photo seemed fitting since the Ducks play both Ottawa and Giguere this weekend.
It's a somewhat unique and somewhat nostalgiac weekend for the Anaheim Ducks coming up. The Ducks play both Saturday and Sunday at home, the first time they've done that since the lockout.
Saturday is a rare afternoon (1:05 p.m.) affair with the Ottawa Senators, whom the Ducks vanquished in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. Of course, the Sens have only four players remaining from that team, while the Ducks have five: Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Parros and Beauchemin (the latter of whom just signed a new deal
Sunday the Ducks once again face the goalie from that 2006-07 team, as J.S. Giguere and the Colorado Avalanche return to Honda Center, with Anaheim looking to avenge a 4-2 loss to them on New Year's Eve. (Giguere has played three of the last four for the Avs, and figures to be back in there again on Sunday against his old team.)
The Ducks are an impressive 6-1-1 since that Colorado loss, a mark they'll be testing against an unbelievably hot Ottawa team tomorrow afternoon. The Sens' thorough 4-1 victory in San Jose last night (which came despite losing two forwards mid-game) improved them to a gaudy 13-2-2 since the middle of December. That's pushed them to fourth in the Eastern Conference, and they're riding an 11-game road points streak.
Today, Bruce Boudreau had an interesting take about the young Senators, who are considered among the surprise teams in the NHL after finishing 13th in the East last year.
"They're only a surprise because of where they finished last year," he said, noting that they have several players from the Binghamton Senators team that won the AHL's Calder Cup last year. "If you look at any team that has won a Calder Cup, there are five to seven players on that team that are good players that are going to play in the NHL. That's what's happened there.
"They are young players who were in Binghamton and were brought up last year at the trading deadline when Ottawa realized they weren't gonna make [the playoffs]. They played great last year and it kept going this year. It's not a surprise to me that they're doing what they're doing."
The Ducks held Jason Blake
and Matt Beleskey
out of practice for the second straight day, as Blake recovers from the lower body injury suffered when he was hit with a Lubomir Visnovsky
shot that resulted in a Beauchemin goal on Wednesday night vs. Phoenix. Boudreau said he has high hopes for Blake playing tomorrow, but Beleskey is not as certain with his injured hand suffered when he
was hit by a shot Wednesday. Just in case, the Ducks called up veteran Mark Bell
from Syracuse, and he was out on the ice today.
"There wasn't a lot of progress for either one, so with the 1:00 game, we had to call up Mark. Blake was still a little sore, but we believe he's going to play tomorrow. We told him to take another day and get better and see how it is tomorrow morning.
If Bell plays this weekend, it will be the 31-year-old's first game since April of 2008.
Boudreau explained the Bell call-up by saying, "You phone down there and you ask the coaching staff, 'Who's the best player for you right now?' We didn't want someone who is in a development stage, we just want the best player who could help our team this weekend potentially. They said Mark Bell
was the best player they had, so we said, Let's call up Mark Bell
. He fits the criteria right now."
There is a chance defenseman Sheldon Brookbank
could move up to a forward spot if both Blake and Beleskey aren't able to go. Brookbank has played some forward for the Ducks in the past and practiced there yesterday and today.
Tomorrow's game will also be t-shirt tiiiiiiiimmmme (and if you don't know that reference, you're a better person than I am), where all fans in attendance will receive a free orange Ducks t-shirt.