Mired in one of their worst starts in recent memory, the Anaheim Ducks are looking for someone, anyone, to kick start their season.
In Anton Khudobin they thought they might have found that someone, as the 29-year old stopped 34-shots in a 4-1 win against Minnesota, only for the Ducks to slump to a 5-1 defeat in Nashville last night, with Khuodbin giving up five goals on 29 shots.
Khudobin’s brief status as the clubs saviour only served to highlight two issues the club has right now – they can’t score, and the idea goaltending was the issue in the first place.
It wasn’t. It isn’t. Khudobin had a bad night, it happens. But the Ducks weren’t desperate for a guy to ‘make a save’ in the way, say, Columbus are right now because they already had a guy doing what he is paid to do.
But then, praising Frederik Andersen doesn’t seem to be the ‘in’ thing in Anaheim.
Home of two of the NHL’s powerhouse franchises, Pacific Division clubs also boast some of the finest prospects in the league and is bracing itself for the media tsunami Connor McDavid’ arrival is set to bring.
Whilst it may mean there are only two clubs with a serious chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season, the potential on display is tremendous and the Division may be about to get seriously interesting.
Home of the Stanley Cup winners for the past three years, the Western Conference remains loaded with talent and potential champions.
Can one of the Central Division juggernauts go all the way? Or will the Cup find its way to a new hockey hot spot?
Yesterday One Puck Short revealed its’ predictions for the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals – today it’s the turn of the West:
A little over a fortnight in to the new NHL season, and Anaheim have resumed their place at the top of the Western Conference.
With a 5-1-0 record to start the new campaign, the California outfit has established its Cup credentials early – thanks in no short measure to 25-year old netminder Frederik Andersen.
Named one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week today; Andersen has won all 5 games in which he started, posting a .950 save percentage and 1.38 goals against average.
Part of a wave of young Danish players in the NHL, the Herning native and his country men have come along way since they faced off against Team GB at the Under 18 World Championships in 2007.
InGoal Magazine Managing Partner, and Vancouver Canucks correspondent for NHL.com, Kevin Woodley joins me to discuss some of the biggest goaltending stories from around the league as the new season approaches.
Kevin gave me a fantastic breakdown of Ryan Miller’s move to Vancouver, we look at Anaheim’s decision to go with two young netminders and we discuss whether Cam Ward can bounce back this year.
We also looked at some of the most exciting innovations in the position right now, and Kevin reveals which NHL netminder he thinks will ‘break out’ this year.
Thanks to Kevin for joining me today. You can follow him on Twitter @KevinisInGoal.
As always; any questions, comments or thoughts on the NHL, the British game or anything else hockey related can be fired across to me on Twitter, @RobMcGregor35, or you can email email@example.com. You can also ‘like’ One Puck Short on Facebook
In a Conference swamped with Cup contenders; a lot of people were caught almost ‘off guard’ by the Ducks last year. Bruce Boudreau’s team blazed through the regular season, finishing top of the West and earning Captain Ryan Getzlaf a Hart Trophy nomination.
But a goaltending controversy laden loss to arch rivals Los Angeles in the Conference semi-final meant Anaheim’s quest for a second Stanley Cup would have to wait for at least one more year.
With a marquee addition this summer, and one of the most dynamic pairings in hockey, the California outfit is no underdog this year – they are bona fide contenders, if their gamble between the pipes pays off.
On this weeks One Puck Short Podcast; I’m flying solo as the Conference Finals appear over the horizon.
In this episode, I look at:
- Montreal vs Boston
- Habs Cup chances
- Bruins next step
- Pittsburgh at a cross roads
- Who’ll win the battle of California
- Ducks goaltending controversy
- San Jose’s summer moves
- Islanders ownership situation
I always love to here from the wider hockey family – so any questions, comments or thoughts you might have on the NHL, the British game or anything else hockey related can be fired across to me on Twitter, @RobMcGregor35, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And don’t forget to ‘like’ One Puck Short on Facebook