- 12/05/2007, 08:24PM ET
Bigalke said 12/05, 08:24 PM
Sources have confirmed to ESPN's E.J. Hradek today that the Anaheim Ducks will soon announce the return of its captain, defenseman Scott Niedermeyer. With the Ducks in a tailspin since opening its season in London -- sitting in eleventh in the Western Conference, 12-12-4, a negative-14 goal differential -- Niedermeyer certainly provides the missing ingredient of leadership that has been missing from what is otherwise a veteran team.
It is likely that this decision will lead to the subsequent return of the Finnish Flash to the roster. Lacking forward depth with Dustin Penner gone and Todd Bertuzzi a Brian Burke bust, Teemu Selanne would certainly help right the goal differential with his deadly sniper's eye.
In no sport more so than hockey is the captain the bedrock and the identity of a team. Last season, three-time Stanley Cup champion Niedermeyer showed the young Ducks how to win, how to be the kings. With their leader departed following that emotional hoist of Lord Stanley's Chalice, Anaheim has been searching for its way. Scott Niedermeyer will return with all the answers and get the team into the playoffs, and then all bets are off...
uoducks1999bcm said 12/05, 08:59 PM
The return will help out, but I realy don't see them repeating this year. I think the loss of Bryzgalov will prove to be huge. JS now doesn't have a proven back up goaltender that will allow him to stay fresh and healthy for the playoffs. He didn't even play the entire playoffs b/c of his child. Bryzgalov was able to get them at least to the 2nd round before Giggy returned.
They may get back into the top, but I don't see them passing San Jose for a top 3 spot in the playoffs. If they get 4 or 5, then Detroit maybe looming next round and then maybe San Jose. That does not look like a lot of fun. The West is just too good.
Bigalke said 12/05, 11:37 PM
The Ducks are sure to reach the playoffs. Then, as we have seen in so many years past, the teams that have success are those that have the combination of experience and youthful energy to sustain a long playoff drive. While they may not win the Pacific Division, it is important to realize that the Ducks are only six points behind the division-leading Dallas Stars. There is no recent precedent to suggest that Dallas has more firepower than Anaheim over the full eighty-two games.
Currently out of the playoff picture, Anaheim will nonetheless turn the tables to contend with San Jose and Dallas for the Pacific Division and a top seed in the first round of the playoffs. Niedermeyer will pay immediate dividends in shoring up the defense and redefining the identity of a team which was crowned Stanley Cup champions only six months ago.
uoducks1999bcm said 12/06, 09:16 AM
Making the playoffs, yes. The NorthWest will continue to beat the crap out of each other & the central will probably get 2 teams in, so making the playoffs probably will happen. Going deep in the playoffs? No. They look like a 1 line team. No one is scoring, just like the Stars. Dallas average 2.79 goals a game (13th) while Anaheim average only 2.28 goals a game (28th). That is not a good a difference.
If Selanne comes back, that puts the Ducks in a deeper whole fiancially also. As of right now, they have 17 players signed for next years cap, and are way over that cap #. They are going to have to do something to get within that cap. It may mean trading someone right now so they can fit everyone in. Corey Perry might be guy to leave. If the Ducks lose him, after Penner already left, Getlaff will not be the same guy.
Bigalke said 12/06, 10:54 AM
Certainly valid points from Ducksfan here... but the NHL is no different than any other sport these days. Despite the fact that the games are aired on Versus or cut short by NBC for Preakness coverage, the NHL shares with its big-brother leagues a shared sense among fans, owners and players that there is the possibility and the duty to win NOW.
And, as so many teams with their names inscribed on the Cup can attest, all it takes is one hot player to lead a team far in the playoffs. The late-season acquisition of Johan Hedberg took the Penguins all the way to the Eastern Conference finals in 2000. Patrick Roy hoisted the 1993 Canadiens on his back and motivated a no-name locker room to Cup permanence. One fiery leader -- whether a Scott Stevens, a Mark Messier (remember 1990 Edmonton?), or in this case, Niedermeyer -- can completely alter the composition of the clubhouse.
The NHL will prove stranger than fiction... and with the recent power seemingly swinging to the East, which had won three straight Cups before Anaheim stepped in, it is entirely possible and even likely that Anaheim can rally to claim its division. It will nobly defend its crown... Scott'll see to that.
uoducks1999bcm said 12/06, 11:58 AM
Getting a late edition will be a boost, but those 2 your mentioned, were goalies. Unless the Ducks can pull off a deal that can bring in a decent back up to Giggy, they are probably not going to survive. If they do make the playoffs, they may get the 7 or 8 seed. Which means Detroit or San Jose 1st round. With the way the playoffs are set, if they get by, then it could be San Jose or Detroit in the 2nd round. I don't see them being able to beat both teams. 1, but maybe not both.
I would like to see the Ducks do something, being an Avs fan. I just don't see the offense or goaltending that can do enough in the playoffs.
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