Ducks update: Lessons learned from 2007 woes
Hockey travels, international style, kick off bright and early Saturday for the Ducks, and they don’t return to Southern California until Oct. 9.
What they are hoping is that their miscues in the 2007-08 season will help them deal with the lingering effects of their upcoming European adventure to Helsinki and Stockholm for the opening of the regular NHL season.
Four years ago, the Ducks not only opened the season with two games in London -- both against the Kings -- but they pushed forward with games in Detroit, Columbus and Pittsburgh before returning home.
The final two contests of the journey, both losses, were on back-to-back nights.
“We got demoralized in the [Pittsburgh] game,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday. “That was a choice we made at that time, which was, looking back on it was very very … What would the word be? Ill-founded?”
He thought of a better word choice a moment later and laughed.
“Stupid,” Carlyle said. “It just felt that way. It was frustrating because we didn’t have anything to give. When you don’t have anything to give … you can push your players to go and push for more. But if they’re not rested, you really haven’t given them the chance.”
This season, the Ducks will get home early Sunday morning, on Oct. 9, and don’t have another game until playing the San Jose Sharks in Anaheim on Oct. 14. After that, they don’t leave the Pacific time zone until Oct. 25 at Chicago.
There are two preseason games remaining for the Ducks, one Friday against the Kings in Anaheim and the other against the Finnish club Jokerit in Helsinki on Tuesday.
“I guess it is the competitiveness of some of our younger players that they’re still here,” Carlyle said. “The ability for them to compete and stay involved with our camp and not show any signs of faltering and playing their game.
“…I didn’t think Gordon had the impact in the game last night that we’ve become accustomed to the first three that he has played. But we’re playing him a little bit out of position and playing a higher-level lineup last night.”
As expected, suspended forward J.F. Jacques cleared waivers and the Ducks assigned him to their minor league team in Syracuse. Defenseman Kurtis Foster, who had a wire removed from his left leg at the start of camp, continues to progress and skated by himself for the first time since the procedure. The wire had been left in his leg to stabilize it after he had suffered a broken leg in 2008 but had started to cause inflammation.
-- Lisa Dillman
Photo: Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle at a practice last week in Anaheim. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press