December holds a very difficult schedule for the Ducks as they have four sets of back-to-back games on the road. Thursday night was the first of those games, and to say it got off to a rough start would be putting it mildly.
The Ducks lost...again.
I'm working on finding new ways to discuss this disturbing trend; unfortunately, the Ducks are finding ways to give me new material.
Not only did the Ducks lose to another Pacific Division foe in the Dallas Stars, they managed to lose another forward in the process.
Teemu Selanne, who arrived in Dallas Thursday afternoon in hopes to gain some rest after coming down with the flu, will likely be resting a lot more in the upcoming days. More realistically, he will be resting for weeks.
After blocking a shot in the second period against Dallas defenseman Karlis Skrastins, Selanne left the game and did not return. X-rays taken during the game indicate a fracture in his left hand.
Unfortunately, this adds frustration to the team and the fans as the Ducks are still slipping further in the Western Conference.
Selanne's injury is one on a long list of forwards currently viewing the game from the press box instead of on the ice. Ryan Carter is still out with a broken foot, Joffrey Lupul is nursing back spasms, and Kyle Calder, who after only a few games with the Ducks, is out with an injury to his eye.
While the Ducks have recently acquired forward Kyle Chipchura, they are still awaiting his official papers so that he is able to live, work, and play in the United States.
Here's hoping that process goes quickly because the Ducks are in desperate of bodies.
The unfortunate part about losing Selanne to this potentially long-term injury, is that the top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan are already being pushed to the limit. Bob Murray spent his offseason finding offensive forwards, and those very guys are not living up to expectations.
For example, Saku Koivu, who had previously missed several games himself due to a groin injury, finally scored his first goal since Nov. 3. In addition, Lupul's production prior to his injury has been few and far between (6-4=10), and Evgeny Artyukhin is showing consistency...in taking far too many penalties. Not to mention, the Ducks are regularly calling up rookie replacements to fill in on forward lines as well as back on the blue line.
As a result of injuries, deflating losses, and a difficult schedule, the team is very likely exhausted. Emotionally, mentally, and physically beat up and run down.
It's only December and they're wiped out.
Bob Murray has indicated he has no plans to make any major roster moves at this time. However, if the Ducks don't see the return of Lupul, or perhaps Carter, soon, he may not have a choice in the matter. Likewise, I'm sure both the fans and the team are hoping that Chipchura can provide some relief.
Another disappointing loss in the game against Dallas was watching Corey Perry's point streak come to an end. The longest streak in the NHL season, his 19 game point streak was an uplifting positive for both the team and Ducks' fans as it seemed to be one of the few bright spots in this otherwise bleak season.
Ironically, Perry's point streak started back on Oct. 21 when the Dallas Stars came to Anaheim. During that 19 game stretch, Perry recorded 10 goals and 16 assists (26 points).
Here's hoping that Perry finds a way to get on another hot run and maybe this time he'll bring a few teammates along with him.