|"I think things are going well,” said Ryan, who scored his 20th goal of the season on Thursday night. “I had a tough start to the year. It’s nice when you can contribute and put some pucks in the back of the net.” |
Whenever a team is hit with a key injury, you can rest assured you’ll hear this uttered shortly after in an NHL locker room: “Other guys will need to step up.”
As Anaheim’s career scoring leader, Teemu Selanne
, has been sidelined for 17 games each of the past two seasons, arguably no player has stepped up bigger than winger Bobby Ryan
After totaling 12 goals and 21 points during Selanne’s 17-game absence (Dec. 21-Jan.27, 2009) last season because of a leg laceration, Ryan has strung together nine goals and 17 points in the last 17 games, all of which the Finnish Flash has missed after suffering a broken bone in his left hand Dec. 3.
“Teemu is a 30-goal scorer, who is always tough to replace,” said Ryan, after the team’s morning practice at Honda Center on Friday before boarding a flight for Nashville. “When Getz went down [four four games recently], that was another 100 points and 20-plus goals. I feel like everybody needs to step up and contribute in ways. I’ve always felt that the best way I can contribute is to shoot and ask questions later.”
The last of those points for Ryan came via a wicked shot during a big spot for the Ducks last night. Down 2-1 to the Blues in the third period, the 22-year-old whipped the puck between defenseman Eric Brewer’s legs and past goalie Chris Mason into the top left corner to tie the game at the 8:18 mark. Anaheim would go on to score two more goals later in the period and win its fifth straight home game 4-2.
“I think things are going well,” said Ryan, who has 19 goals in his last 35 games after netting just one in his first nine contests to start 2009-10. “I had a tough start to the year. It’s nice when you can contribute and put some pucks in the back of the net.”
|"I feel like everybody needs to step up and contribute in ways," Ryan (second from right) said. "I’ve always felt that the best way I can contribute is to shoot and ask questions later.” |
That game-tying goal for Ryan was just the latest in his collection of highlight reel goals he has accumulated in 131 career games. The one that definitely stands out the most is his spinning, one-man effort against the Kings that capped his first career hat trick (all coming in a span of 2:21). It came exactly one year ago on January 8, 2009 at Staples Center.
“I just remember it as a good night and maybe a coming-out party,” said Ryan, who leads the Ducks in goals and is third on the club with 35 points. “A year later, you look back and it’s a nice achievement to have on your resume that is for sure.”
Since that night, Ryan went on to finish the season with 31 goals and 57 points (to lead all league rookies and set new franchise records) and was the runner-up for the Calder Trophy. He also played a vital role in the Ducks defeating the Sharks in the 2009 playoffs and was recently named to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team by former Ducks GM Brian Burke.
He has donned the red, white and blue once before at the 2006 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, which were held in Vancouver (the same site as this year’s Olympic Games). He put up three goals and seven points in seven games for the U.S., who finished that tournament in fourth place after losing 4-2 to Finland in the bronze medal match.
“It’s an honor every time you get to that wear that jersey and represent your country,” Ryan said. “I think we have a good team, an underdog team. We’re young, but we’re going to have fresh legs all tournament long, so that will be nice.”
|"Even though Getzy has returned and Teemu is coming back, I’ll try to contribute and do the same thing," Ryan said. |
Ryan was happy to watch Team USA (which had Ducks prospects Kyle Palmieri
and Jake Gardiner on its roster) recently defeat Canada 6-5 in overtime in the gold medal game at this year’s World Junior. He hopes its not the last time Americans celebrate on Canadian soil in 2010.
“Maybe 2010 is the year of the U.S. maybe,” Ryan said. “I played in the World Junior and it’s a tough tournament to win. It’s a grind. They lost that game to Canada in a heartbreaking shootout the first time around. They battled through the whole way and it was nice to see them come out on top.”
With more than a month left before the opening ceremonies to the Olympics, Ryan’s focus continues to remain on helping improve Anaheim’s place in the standings one game at a time. The Ducks are headed back out on the road for the same back-to-back situation in the same cities they played in last weekend – Nashville and Chicago.
“We have to bring a much more up-tempo game,” said Ryan on what needs to improve from the two games last weekend, both of which the Ducks lost. “It’s important that our team is an initiating one and we’re getting in on the forecheck and making the “d” turn pucks over. We have to make sure we’re getting some traffic in front and find ugly ways to score on the road. Even though Getzy has returned and Teemu is coming back, I’ll try to contribute and do the same thing.”Injury Notes
With the stitches now removed from his left hand, Selanne took part in Friday’s practice and is eying tomorrow night in Nashville as his return to the Ducks lineup after missing 17 games.
“I’m expecting to play tomorrow,” said Selanne, who has 14 goals (seven on the power play, tied with Ryan for the team lead) and 21 points in 27 games played this season. “Let’s see what happens. I’m very excited. It’s been a long time since I played last. It’s good to be back and it’s going to be fun.”
Having been part of the Anaheim squads that have put up strong second halves each of the last four seasons, the right wing thinks this team is also capable of such an effort and is ready to be part of hopefully another run.
I’m expecting a lot from this team in the second half and so is everybody else,” Selanne said. “There is a mission right here, right now.”