With temps in Southern California in the triple digits during our annual “Indian Summer” (the time when girls assume Halloween will be warm, opt for skimpy outfits and then freeze their tuckus’ off come the 31st), it pleases me beyond belief that tomorrow night will be spent in the cool confines of Staples Center watching my Ducks shatter the cute little Kings, intimidating the Duck Hunter and instructing my fellow Anaheim fans on the best methods to chase off Bailey (move in for a hug and watch the stuffed animal run).
Cuts and moves have been made – most expected, some disappointing – and the Ducks active roster is at (correct me if I’m wrong) 30. After tomorrow night’s preseason game, final cuts will most likely be made and we will be able to get a gander at the solidified line up of who will be representing the black and gold this season.
Sadly, we won’t be seeing a Cam Fowler/Devante Smith-Pelly line, as DSP was relegated to Juniors last Thursday. During Young Stars and at Training at The Rinks, the two seemed to be developing a really great repartee, but I guess DSP wasn’t quite up to snuff. Fowler, on the other hand, is still hanging tough and if he can toe that blue line, I think we’ve got the makings of one hell of a defenseman. The Ducks are pushing Cam incredibly hard and I hope he can take the heat. Fortunately, he has Scotty as his mentor, so it can’t be that bad for the cute kid.
Two of my biggest disappointments were the assigning to The Syracuse Crunch (AHL) of Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri. Kyle can’t be happy with this outcome, considering the yo-yo ride he’s been on with this team. It’ll be interesting to see where his loyalties lie as the season develops. In terms of Nicky, I think he’ll ramp up his game and get called up when someone suffers from a broken toenail or a hangnail or…wait, I’m thinking of lame-arse baseball injuries. Never mind!
Everyone pretty much knew Emerson Etem would wind up in Juniors for at least a couple of months, but I’m betting dollars to donuts we’ll see him burning up the Ponda come December. I think the Ducks appreciate his dedication and insane work ethic (NHL trainer T.R. Goodman compared him to a young Sidney Crosby), but my theory is that the organization just isn’t quite sure where his unique style fits in.
The shifting of goaltenders Timo Pielmeier (Syracuse) and Igor Bobkov (Juniors) was pretty much expected. They looked OK at training, but not quite there yet. I’m betting on the Teutonic Timo to win the #3 spot.
The biggest shock to me was the shipping off to Syracuse of goalie J.P. Levasseur. I was sure that he and Curtis McElhinney would be battling it out for the #2 spot, but I guess my optimism (and my love of cute French Canadian names) got the better of me.
Speaking of training camp, some funnies that occurred:
On day one, Festerling (not Bobby, not Getzy, not Georgie) started the endboard rammings that got everyone’s blood pumping.
I overheard a guy call Ryan Whitney “the next Chris Pronger” after he flattened Dan Sexton.
Big Sexy skating under an elbow to make a wicked backhand pass (sometimes smaller is better!)
Getting fans to shout “Bobby!” at the top of their lungs whenever he hit the ice.
Jonas Hiller’s “Darth Vader” helmet and hearing behind me silly things like “George, come to the dark side” and “Corey, I am your father.”
Cam Fowler attempting to crash the defensemen (he failed miserably).
Teemu Selanne ‘blowing a tyre’ and laughing about it.
There were a lot of concerns coming into this season about our defense, but we’ve shored up most of the holes. Our D is pretty packed up with the likes of Brookbank, the recent acquisition of Mara, Festerling, The Viz, etc., we’re good to go.
Plus, our forwards ain’t no pushovers. May I dream of a Bobby/Georgie line? Or perhaps a Kopitar endboard sandwich?
Aah, only time will tell.