Steve Reinprecht stared at the puck, chuckling at the opportunity that was handed to him. He flipped a pass over to Mikkel Boedker, who stared directly into J.S. Giguere's eyes as the puck crossed the line.
Travis Moen just stared at his skates.
Boedker had scored his first career NHL goal, and it was one of the simplest goals you will ever see at the NHL level. Reinprecht's passing lane was open due to some comic defending by the Ducks' Steve Montador, but the play originated on the other end of the ice.
A loose puck had trickled into the sideboards, and Travis Moen and Kent Huskins both went after it. I haven't decided who to blame yet—since both players have been playing horrible hockey this season—but the two players collided and gave up an odd-man rush.
After two games, the Ducks' leading goal scorers are George Parros and Ryan Carter. Their top overall scorers are Chris Pronger and Montador—who are both defensemen.
So why aren't the Ducks' offensive players scoring any goals?
Teemu Selanne has had his chances. I've counted a post and two crossbars in two games. That does not excuse his failure to finish those chances, but at least his line has been creating scoring opportunities.
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have been invisible. The reason? They're playing with Travis Moen.
The coaches are expecting Moen to battle in the corners and recover loose pucks for Getzlaf and Perry. Those two are supposed to handle the goal-scoring once they have the puck.
A player's job is to do whatever the coaching staff tells him to do. The coaching staff's job is to put the player in a position where he can succeed.
Travis Moen cannot succeed on a scoring line.
As good as Moen is at grinding on both sides of the rink, his lack of offensive polish severely handicaps the Ducks' chances of scoring more goals than they did last season. Recovering the puck is important, but the players on a scoring line need to be able to convert open chances when they materialize.
Since Bobby Ryan was sent chopping, head coach Randy Carlyle's options are limited. Ryan Carter might be a good fit for the Getzlaf line, but he was unimpressive at training camp and in the preseason. (naturally, he scored a goal yesterday)
The best option is Rob Niedermayer, believe it or not. For the past two seasons, he has not been an offensive threat. However, he still possesses untapped offensive ability.
In the 2005-06 season, he tallied 15 goals and 39 points. Those are not amazing numbers, but that type of production will be satisfactory until Bobby Ryan can be recalled. Also keep in mind that Niedermayer came into the league as an offensive player. He scored 26 goals and 61 points in the 1995-96 season with the Florida Panthers.
His production has fallen because of the role he has been asked to fill. If he is liberated from the checking-line role, I believe he will be able to contribute more offense than Travis Moen or Ryan Carter can contribute. Niedermayer has a comparable wrist shot, a better slap shot, and is a better skater (though Carter comes close).
Besides, he can't do much worse than Moen's zero points and minus-two rating.
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