As we approach training camp and the start of the 2014-15 season, AnaheimDucks.com will preview each player on the roster, highlighting last season’s accomplishments and providing insight into what you can expect this season. Our preview continues with defenseman Ben Lovejoy.
Lovejoy embarks on the upcoming season after having a career year in 2013-14. A six-year veteran who’s been with the Ducks for the past two seasons, Lovejoy established career highs in goals (5), game-winning goals (2), points (18), plus/minus (+21), appearances (78) and shots (107).
Lovejoy, who was acquired from Pittsburgh in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Feb. 6, 2013, has been paired with Cam Fowler for most of his time in Anaheim. The duo instantly clicked, giving head coach Bruce Boudreau a top-pairing unit to face the opposition’s most formidable lines.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Enfield, New Hampshire was Anaheim’s most physical blueliner, as evidenced by his team-leading 215 hits, which also ranked seventh overall among league defensemen. Lovejoy also led the Ducks in blocked shots, with 150.
“Lovey” posted a career-best five-game point/assist streak (5a) from December 17-28, becoming the first Ducks defenseman to accomplish the feat since Lubomir Visnovsky (1g/8a) from Jan. 7-16, 2011. The Ducks posted wins in all five of those games, culminating in their 10th consecutive victory on December 28 vs. Phoenix.
Lovejoy appeared in all 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games against the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings, finishing with two goals, a +1 rating and eight penalty minutes. His second goal of the postseason served as the game winner in Anaheim’s 3-2 victory over the Kings at Staples Center in Game 3 of the second round. It was a fantastic individual effort from Lovejoy, and it gave the Ducks a 3-1 lead in the late stages of regulation. Lovejoy finished the game with two hits, two blocked shots and one takeaway in 19:35 time-on-ice.
Lovejoy celebrated his goal in grand style, dropping to a knee and sweeping the ice before being mobbed his teammates. On his celebration, Lovejoy said, “That was the first [fist] pump of my life. That was a pretty special goal for me. It’s not necessarily my job, but it was fun.”
Lovejoy has spent the summer in his native New Hampshire, enjoying time with his family (wife Avery and daughter Lila) while preparing for the upcoming season. He says the sting of last season’s shortcoming still burns.
“We all left last season with an awful taste in our mouth, and it’s still there. We are desperate to get back on the ice and play that first game, that 40th game and that 82nd game. I want to get back in the swing of things. I’m ready to go. I love summer, but I’m over it. I’m ready for training camp and that first game. I’m ready to get competitive again.”
You can read more of his offseason Q&A here.
The highlight of Lovejoy’s season came in the early hours of New Year’s Eve. That morning, his wife, Avery, gave birth to the couple’s first child, daughter Lila. Lovejoy and his teammates had a home game later that night against the San Jose Sharks, and he said he never had any thoughts about not playing the game. “Not in my mind,” he said at the time. “I’m sure Avery thought differently [laughs]. I had gotten texts at 8:30 that morning from Bruce wondering how things were going. I was very impressed with how supportive everyone was, throughout the whole team.
“Nobody expected me here for pregame skate or the game. They were like, Take care of things with your family. But I think they, like me, were extremely excited that it happened well before the game and that I was able to get here.”
In that game against the Sharks, Lovejoy made the save of the game, a diving stop on Joe Thornton. Lovejoy reached out in desperation and got the shaft of his stick on Thornton’s shot, preventing a goal on a wide open net. Sure enough, the Ducks gained possession of the puck, rushed up the ice and scored. The Ducks went on to win, 6-3.
BY THE NUMBERS
47 – Lovejoy’s career plus-minus (+47) in 208 NHL games.
30,084 – The number of Lovejoy’s Twitter followers (@RevLovejoy6).