Anaheim Ducks Weekly Recap: Blessings and Curses

Bobby RussellCorrespondent INovember 16, 2008

We open this week's review with a paradox: The Anaheim Ducks may finally be settling down now that they have a new general manager and two new players.

The team only played two games this week, so this review will mainly cover the week's news items. Many of these news items are two-faced—both a blessing and curse for the team.


Bye Bye, Burkie

Brian Burke's departure will bless the Ducks since the team is finally void of distractions. The Ducks no longer need to worry about their administrator's career ambitions, now that he's free to join whichever high-profile franchise he fancies to join.

The curse is cast not upon the Ducks organization, but upon Burke's succesor—Bob Murray. It is up to him to guide the Ducks out of salary cap purgatory, which is no easy task given Burke's inflationary signings.

One of the major reasons for the Ducks' lack of success in 2007-08 was off-ice issues. There should be no such issues now that they have a GM who is out of the spotlight. Murray should consider tweaking portions of the roster, but it's more important for him to avoid mistakes than to manufacture a blockbuster trade.


Adieu Adieu, Beauchemin

In this news item, the curse is the more obvious element. The Ducks will sorely miss Francois Beauchemin, who has been diagnosed with an ACL injury that will keep him sidelined for six months.

Beauchemin usually logs the most minutes out of all Ducks defensemen, including Niedermayer and Pronger. The reason? Beauchemin is younger and  possesses exceptional endurance and durability.

So where is the blessing?

Beauchemin has been placed on long-term injured reserve, which freed up enough cap space for the Ducks to recall the two players who earned spots on the roster during training camp—Bobby Ryan and Brett Festerling.


The Rookies' Debut

It's all blessings and no curses from here on out. Ryan and Festerling both played brilliantly on Sunday against the Kings—their first game of the season. The only reason they started the season in Iowa instead of the NHL was due to the Ducks' cap issues. It's unfortunate that the Beauchemin injury needed to be the catalyst that led to their recall, but such is the way of things.

Ryan is an absolutely perfect fit for the Getzlaf-Perry line, as all three of those players relentlessly battle in the corners to keep pucks in the offensive zone. Ryan's placement on the Getzlaf line also allows the Ducks to place Chris Kunitz on a line with Brendan Morrison and Teemu Selanne—a much more natural combination for all three of those players.

Festerling was paired with Scott Niedermayer and logged the big minutes during even-strength play (17:42 TOI, no power play time). Before anyone accuses Festerling of riding Niedermayer's coattails, remember that the two of them are out on the ice against the opposing team's top scoring line.


The Week's Games

Nothing out of the ordinary happened last week. The Ducks' overtime loss against Nashville was a ponderous affair despite the relatively high scoreline. The Ducks looked average on even-strength, but were able to convert on the power play to stay in the game.

Sunday evening's win against the Kings was a step in the right direction and a good debut for the team's new players. Bret Hedican also scored a great goal on a slapshot from the point, which gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead. It was his first goal in over a year.

Next week will be a bit busier, with a Wednesday meeting against the Washington Capitals followed by a weekend road trip to St. Louis and Dallas.


Bobby Russell is the community leader for the Anaheim Ducks on Bleacher Report. You can contact him on his profile.

Photo: Courtesy of Anaheim Ducks Official Website