Eight Reasons the Anaheim Ducks Are Bad
The Anaheim Ducks currently find themselves on the bottom of the Western Conference standings, a spot they've been in for most of the season.
In light of my recent post about the things the Ducks are grateful for, I think it's time we look at the reasons they're losing. More specifically, why this team, so great on paper, is so terrible on the ice.
The Ducks have seen their fair share of injuries this season. The team once again finds themselves shorthanded after the recent loss of Teemu Selanne to an injury.
Selanne will be out for the next 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hand due to a broken bone suffered against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
In addition to the loss of Selanne, the Ducks are still without the services of Ryan Carter, who is a key component to their penalty kill, and Kyle Calder, who was recently brought on for forward depth.
The only bright spot is the return of Joffrey Lupul and the two goals he scored in the shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Friday night. However, until the Ducks find themselves healthy, the constant line juggling will make it difficult for this team to unify.
Selanne can definitely come up big when he's healthy:
Giving up leads, giving away wins
This is not just about inconsistent play (there has been plenty of that as well); this is about not finishing games, while not being able to find ways to shut other teams down in the final moments by doing little things like clearing the puck from the defensive zone.
The Ducks have given up a number of games this season because they take a lead and then play on their heels hoping that their poor-excuse-for-a-defense will bail them out in the final moments of a game.
News flash...it's not working.
Not because the goaltenders have been inconsistent, but because their game rotation is constantly in limbo.
It's likely that before this season began, Coach Randy Carlyle was expecting to have his goaltenders playing from win streak to win streak. Obviously the Ducks aren't getting wins, so instead of "win and you're in", Carlyle is playing "lose and you're out".
Unfortunately, this leaves both goaltenders fighting for their jobs behind a botchy defense and an inconsistent offense with no chemistry developing between the entire team. It's time the Ducks pick a starting goaltender and allow that man to play a string of games, get comfortable in the net, and feel confident about his job. These men need to know their role on this team just like everyone else.
The men on the blueline
The Ducks are currently employing Scott Niedermayer and some other guys who hold the title of "defenseman". Unfortunately, one stellar defenseman, who's having to baby-sit his partners and play extra minutes on a regular basis, isn't going to do the job for an entire team.
The fans were prepared for this before the season started, when the team lost Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin. However, hopes were high that maybe Ryan Whitney would grow a backbone and play physical, that James Wisniewski would stay healthy, and that the other "defensemen" would be better than their numbers indicated.
It was false hope.
Check out what Wisniewski can do when healthy here:
The men in suits
General Manager Bob Murray made some bold moves last season during the trade deadline and many fans were thrilled with the result.
In the end, the Ducks were able to squeak their way into the playoffs and almost knocked off the Detroit Red Wings in 7 games. However, the Pronger trade might have been the start of a treacherous off-season.
Murray's acquisitions this summer were for players that don't necessarily fit the mold the Ducks organization is accustomed to.
Likewise, on the bench, Coach Randy Carlyle knows one style of hockey: Defense. Unfortunately, the Ducks no longer have a team built for that style of play.
This team is built for offense, and that offense is not being exploited properly. The front office and the coaching staff are clearly not on the same page. Someone needs to go.
The men not playing defense
The offensive powers of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Joffrey Lupul are fantastic. These are top-notch forwards who can score goals, move the puck, and make big plays.
However, these guys are often too lazy on the other end of the ice. With the Ducks struggling so much on defense, and with their constant ability to give up goals at the end of the game, these forwards must find a way to play a stronger role on defense. Too often these guys have a one track mind that consist of scoring goals and point streaking.
It's time they consider playing a physical game on both ends of the ice. In return, they might find it's easier to move the puck into those sweet little spots on the ice that create those scoring opportunities they love so much.
Moving their feet
This is an overwhelming trend for the Ducks.
Stationary hockey leads to so many bad things on the ice. Penalties are always the result when players don't move their feet, but lately the Ducks are finding there are other negatives to standing around.
Their passing, for one, is in the toilet. When players stand around waiting for the puck to find their stick, the puck becomes a predictable target for defenders to pick off.
Turnovers become abundant and the defense and goaltending units are left vulnerable. It's a vicious cycle of events the Ducks can cure by simply moving their feet.
The entire Ducks roster has no confidence in one another. Until they are able to trust their teammates, their coaching staff, and their management, they're going to continue to struggle game after game. At this rate, it doesn't look good.