The National Hockey League announced today that Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan
was named the league’s Rookie of the Month for January. It marks the first time in franchise history that a Ducks player has received the honor.
Ryan, 21 (3/17/87), co-led the league in goal scoring for the month of January with 11 (tied with Mike Cammalleri of CGY). His 11 goals were the most by a rookie in one month since Washington’s Alex Ovechkin had 11 in March, 2006. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey native also set a Ducks rookie record for goals in one month (previously seven, Kariya (March 1995) and Penner (March 2007)) and tied the rookie record for points in one month (Getzlaf, March 2006, 4-12=16). Ryan’s 16 points (11-5=16) were seven more than any other rookie had in January (four players had nine points), while his 11 goals were five more than any other rookie (Kyle Okposo of NYI, six goals).
On January 9 at Los Angeles, Ryan recorded a hat trick in a span of two minutes, 21 seconds, the fastest hat trick by a U.S.-born player in NHL history and the fastest by an NHL rookie since 1938 (Detroit’s Liscombe, 1:52). The 6-2, 208-pound winger also had a franchise rookie-record five-game goal streak from Jan. 17-28. Ryan had a seven-game point streak (5-3=8) from Jan.16-31, the longest by a rookie since Sam Gagner (EDM) had a nine-game streak from Feb. 4-24, 2008. He had points in 12 of the 14 games in January (11-5=16) and has points in 17 of the last 21 contests (13-11=24) overall. On the road, Ryan currently owns a 12-game point streak (9-9=18), including goals in four of the last five (4-2=6) and in six of the last eight road games (8-4=12). For the season, Ryan has 17-17=34 points with a +11 rating in 35 games. He currently leads all NHL rookies in goals (17), power play goals (8), power play points (15), shooting percentage (19.1%) and points-per-game (.97), while ranking second in points and assists.
Selected by Anaheim in the first round (second overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Ryan has appeared in 58 career NHL games over the past two seasons, collecting 22-22=44 points with 20 penalty minutes (PIM). He also appeared in two Stanley Cup Playoff contests with Anaheim in 2008, going scoreless with two PIM.
Ryan took part in a conference call with various NHL media on Tuesday afternoon. Following is a transcript:
Q. Could you start us off by talking a little bit about the relationship that you've got with Coach Randy Carlyle, what he's told you he wants from you, what he expects from you and how he's used you and talk a little bit about your history with your linemates?
RYAN: Okay. I think, obviously, we've come a long way. He's starting to gain a little trust in me. And obviously with some guys being out he looked to me to fill the void a little bit. I've certainly enjoyed learning from him.
And I realize he's a knowledgeable coach, having played the game as well. I've enjoyed it. And I was able to click with a bunch of different guys, I played a little bit with Getzlaf, that went well. And he makes it easy on people around him. I was the beneficiary of some good plays.
Q. One of the things I was interested, you started out I believe playing at the Pensock Rink in New Jersey.
RYAN: I did.
Q. I don't think anybody before you has made it to the National Hockey League. But we're looking at Bobby Sanguinetti behind you and also Jay Brennan. Is there a reason why we're starting to see good hockey players out of there, whether it was the hockey program there? It's been impressive.
RYAN: Absolutely. I think the program's obviously come a long way and just the involvement has come a long way. When we were around there weren't a lot of teams, there weren't a lot of kids. You go back in the summers, and I've got cousins playing now and I'm able to see them play and all the tournaments they're in.
I think obviously the sport has grown in the area. Hopefully the coaching has as well, because it's tough. There wasn't a lot around. You had to travel quite a bit for good coaching. And I know there's some coaches that have previously played with the Flyers that are back in the area coaching. It will be nice to see the kids come up and we're excited for it in New Jersey.
Q. Can you talk a little bit more about the offense and how you were able to score the goals, who led to that and who was the main guys? Was it Perry? Was it Getzlaf? Talk a little bit more about that.
RYAN: I think a lot had to do with Getzlaf. I filled in on the power play and with Teemu out as well I was the guy they were looking forward to get the shot to. When those guys, not just Getzlaf, but Scottie and Pronger, pushing the puck out there, it's easy to get open and finish off one-timers that's for sure. They make it easy on all of you.
But it's been nice. Obviously those guys are back. Somewhat the role changes a little bit. But I'm excited about the rest of the way in.
Q. Were you fortunate that in 2005 all the publicity was on Sidney Crosby, you kind of flew under the radar; nobody even knew who the second pick was in the draft that year because everybody was all about Crosby.
Q. In the beginning of the year how upset were you that you had to kind of spend it in the minors when obviously everybody thought you were an NHL player but it was a salary cap issue?
RYAN: I think to answer your first question, I think everybody going into that draft kind of knew who was going number one. And it was nice for all of us to kind of fly under the radar and not have to deal with as much publicity, I guess, as you would in normal circumstances.
But Sidney certainly deserves all the accolades at that time and still does to this day. It was nice. I was able to keep my anonymity through the whole time and squeeze in the No. 2 spot unnoticed.
It's been great. And what's the second part of your question?
Q. It's about starting the season in the minors because of the salary cap issues. And you're probably thinking, geez, I think I'm an NHL player, why do I have to go to the minors.
RYAN: It's tough. Obviously it was emotional. The conversation was you're good enough to play this level, you've kind of made the team but our hands are tied. So it was certainly tough. I didn't know whether I was coming back into this organization or going to be moved. They told me they would move me if it came down to that.
But I was just happy that I came back up in the latest circumstances. Obviously it's tough when a guy goes down. But I guess it's the business side and you roll with it. And it's been great ever since.
Q. How worried were you that you would get traded? How worried were you that they would say we don't have the money, we have to trade you?
RYAN: I was worried. Obviously in that situation you don't know where you're going to go. I had faith in Brian Burke that I would be around. And obviously when he stepped down, one of the first things they did was call me up just because of an injury. So I was a little flustered. I didn't know what was going on. I tried to stay in the loop as much as I could. But with the start that the Ducks had this year, I think Burke had his mind on a lot of things other than bringing me back up.
Q. To elaborate a little bit on that, on the AHL issue, in retrospect, and you touched about it when you were here in Des Moines. That could have been a huge negative for you, you managed to turn it into a positive. Was it actually hard to make sure, hey, I'm going to motivate myself here and not sulk about it a little bit because you knew where you belonged?
RYAN: Yeah, absolutely. I think there's two ways you can look at the situation when it happens. And obviously it would have been easy to sulk and complain or maybe not even report. But at the same time I had friends on that team, so I was fine going down and putting in the time and the work.
I had a relationship with the coaches previously as well. So I knew they would help me by doing everything in their power to get me back to the National Hockey League and I kept my word and they kept theirs. And it was healthy the whole time.
Q. Could you have imagined how many of your teammates there would end up with you in Anaheim, and then you see a Lidstrom head over to Phoenix? I imagine you still keep track of the guys over there. But, man, a lot have come along with you.
RYAN: Absolutely. It's nice to see so many guys come up at the same time and get a chance to contribute up here and play. Joakim is a guy we still keep in touch as well. And it was nice to see him get the shot that I thought he deserved a long time ago. So it's nice to see him doing well, too. Maybe a little bit of a tribute to the coaching staff there in Iowa.
Q. I'm just wondering if last night was maybe a little bit of an aberration, or do you notice as you've had more success here lately, certainly scoring wise, are teams playing you a little differently, being more physical and such?
RYAN: I've certainly noticed that over the last four or five games, that's for sure. But I think last night was more being in the wrong place at the wrong time, three or four times in a row.
I seem to skate right into the pile-up a couple times and come out on the worst end of it. But I certainly don't think it was anybody's intention, by any means.
Q. You were talking about when you got drafted, there just wasn't a lot of attention. You snuck in at No. 2. I'm wondering, now that you're getting all this attention, talk to me how you're reacting to it and obviously last night was one of the maybe negative repercussions of getting all the attention. Was there some good and some bad?
RYAN: I think you take everything in stride. Obviously there's pros and cons. But it's all been nice. It's been on days and off days. The guys have taken a lot of the younger guys on in the room and they're keeping us level headed, so to speak. Whether it's other teams matching the check against you or following you around the ice a little bit, it's going to come with the territory. So the attention, obviously there's good and bad to both sides, but you have to continue to enjoy it while you can.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the rookie scoring race. I know it's probably something you never thought about back in October. But now that you're in the midst of it and there's nobody running away with this thing, does it provide you some motivation?
RYAN: Yeah, absolutely. It would be nice to be the top at the end of the year. Obviously, like you said, when I was called up mid-November it was certainly something that hadn't crossed my mind. But, still, there's plenty of other things on my radar outside of that. But, like I said, it would be nice and I’m certainly going to try to make a push for it.
Q. Is this something that's very gratifying because of where you were at the start of the season? Do you really feel like, yeah, I belong now?
RYAN: Yeah, I think so. I think obviously I needed to kind of make a statement in some sense of the word. And for the month of January to go the way it did was maybe a little extra sweet because of the way I had to start the year. And, like I said, before it's something that I hope to continue into February and through March and April.
Q. The 2006 World Junior Championships. Now next year we've got the Olympics in Vancouver. I was wondering, have you had any contact with the American program, with Team U.S.A., and what would it mean with you in your second season to be able to represent the United States in the Olympics?
RYAN: Well, I certainly haven't had any contact from them yet. It would be nice. But I think I'm probably pretty far off the U.S.'s radar at this point.
Q. You were saying you hadn't heard from U.S.A. and you were thinking you were pretty far off their radar right now. If that's the case, could you go back and talk a little bit about being part of the program for the World Junior and your experience dealing with Team U.S.A.?
RYAN: I came away from the tournament feeling like it was a good thing to go through. Obviously we had a tough tournament there in Vancouver. It would be nice to go back in the same building and do it again. Certainly think there's a bit of redemption there from the tournament. I felt like we could have won.
But at the same time, like I said, I think there's plenty of guys on their radar that have been in the league longer and produced longer. So we'll see how it goes and cross that bridge when it gets there.
Q. Bobby, did Brian Burke let you know before the draft that you were going to Anaheim? A lot of kids sit there and they're not too sure. If that's so, then the first two picks were, pretty much everybody knew where they were going to go.
RYAN: You know what, I was lucky enough to know the night before. He came down and told us while we were at dinner. And it made the night a little easier and the morning a little easier as well.
And I think most of the guys going into the draft that morning kind of knew as well, because it's obvious it had gotten around. So I think everybody in the room, I should say, not the building, the room knew where everybody was going in the first two or three picks.
Q. What's it like working with Brian Burke? He comes across as pretty strong-minded and stuff. Did he kind of let you know what was going on all this time, or were you kind of in the dark with you're up, you're down, you're in the minors, salary cap, whatever?
RYAN: I think this year certainly more I was a little more in the loop obviously than last year. You never get any feedback sometimes. And you're kind of left in the dark. But he was good with me this year. He got in touch with me on several occasions and told me what was going on with the process, what it was going to be like there. That he was trying to find room. I was obviously grateful for that. I don't want to say he's stubborn, but he's set in his ways. And it's old-time hockey and old-time Brian Burke. So it was an honor.