Friday, September 30, 2022

NHL Roundtable: Are Kings and Ducks Real This Season?

Four weeks after the start of the NHL season, Kings and Ducks found themselves two unexpected teams in the league. Southland’s opponents were some of the hottest teams on the ice, with the Kings winning seven in a row and the Ducks winning six in a row.

Are they legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup playoffs? The Kings and Ducks last came out in the postseason in 2018. In a roundtable discussion moderated by Times hockey editor Hans Tesselaar, the Times columnist (and Hockey Hall of Famer) joined Helen Elliott, Times staffers Curtis Zupke (former beat writer for both teams). , Jim Barrero (seasonal owner of the Kings chair) and Nick Leiva (longtime Ducks fan).

The year is 2021. But you might think that this is 10 years ago, as “Ducks and Kings” is played. What can we do about it?

Elliott: I think the current success of Kings and Ducks is a payback for the fans of both teams. These fans have long waited for an excuse to have hope and to invest emotionally in teams that have not been able to go through a tedious rebuild. All of these promises look good … at least for now!

Barrero: Both teams have definitely moved beyond last season and it is clear that young talent has started to trickle down and it is interesting to watch. There was nothing better in 2014 than the Kings Ducks playoff series, and we can only hope there are more on the horizon.

Zupke: We don’t have terrible teams anymore! I think it was partly due to the emergence of some of these prospects, and in the case of the Ducks, they are gaining an on-ice lead that they sorely lacked last year with Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Enrique.

Leiva: I figured both teams would improve slightly as their young people continued to develop, but no one could convince me that SoCal teams would be a surprise for the league in just 10 games. A pleasant surprise for local hockey fans, to put it mildly.

Kings defender Drew Doughty holds a knee after injury on October 22nd.

Kings defender Drew Doughty injured his right knee against the Dallas Stars on October 22nd.

(Richard W. Rodriguez / Associated Press) #

The Kings started the season 1-5-1. During this time, star defender Drew Doughty suffered a knee injury that left him out of the game for at least two months. Promising defender Sean Walker lost the season with a knee injury. How did they change that?

Barrero: The signing of Alex Edler seems very important now, as he brought some stability, albeit without the flamboyance of Doughty. Kale Klag shows that he is capable as his defensive partner, which was a bit of a surprise as he was definitely not part of the Kings’ plans prior to these injuries. If not, the attack will finally get production from more than just the top line, which is what would be required if the Kings were to maintain that success.

Elliott: They have excellent ball possession, which should be the backbone of any success they achieve. Jonathan Quick did not lose first place to Cal Petersen, his successor, and they both gave the Kings a chance to win in almost every game. Jim, can we agree that Ollie Maatta doesn’t cut it ?!

Barrero: Yes, I would confidently agree (smileys with a smiling face).

Leiva: I think some of the newer works (like Philippe Dano and Victor Arvidsson) have breathed life into stagnant crime. Plus, Jonathan Quick’s renaissance has had an impact on that too.

Zupke: Clague was selected five years ago, and during all these training and development camps, I can not remember that his name was mentioned by the coaches. He is now their second-best defensive scorer. Go figure it out. But I think Helen, Jim and Nick did their job well with goal play, offense … and also forechecking the kings are better, so they spend less time in their zone.


Ducks center Troy Terry brings the puck against the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 7.

(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press) #

Troy Terry. Blimey. What can you say about the 24-year-old Ducks star in the making?

Elliott: Really impressed by Terry. In addition, he greatly encouraged Getzlaf. Terry’s story is interesting in that he played in a hockey tournament of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which the NHL missed. Terry was one of the few college players on the team. I think this experience should help him. According to him, he should earn the attention of the US team at the Beijing Winter Games. NHL players will play in this tournament, and I would like Terry to have another chance in international competition.

Barrero: Was this guy selected in the fifth round? Wow, really! He definitely showed that he belongs to him and it makes me freak out as a Kings fan when he and Trevor Zegras really hit it off. It also encourages me for who the young players in the Kings system will ultimately become.

Zupke: What impressed me is that he seems to have expanded his offensive play. It has such a wide reach and is just fun to watch. Chemistry in hockey is amazing and he got it with Getzlaf.

Leiva: I remember Terry when he played for the US youth team a few years ago, he was just a small player, but you could say he had a unique skill set. Now he’s kind of full and has amazing chemistry with old man Ryan Getzlaf.

Elliott: Old Man Ryan Getzlaf. Sigh. I remember him when he and Corey Perry were newbies.

Ryan Getzlaf of Anaheim Ducks skates in the third period.

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf skates during a game against the Buffalo Sabers October 28.

(Jae S. Hong / Associated Press) #

Let’s talk more about Quick and Getzlaf, icons for both franchises. The thought was not to expect too much from any of them this season. But they still have something left, don’t they?

Barrero: To be honest, I was surprised that they both seemed to shift everything to a different gear. Much of this has to do with what others have already touched on – the infusion of youth and chemistry with Terry, according to Getzlaf. Before the season I was ready to count down Quick and move forward, but I think it’s silly to do this with a double Stanley Cup goalkeeper. I should have known better. It’s nice to see the “old” guys do well.

Elliott: Quick has suffered many injuries over the past few seasons, having had shoulder surgery last spring. Because of that – and the fact that he will turn 36 in January – I think it made sense to wonder how much he had left. But he’s an assertive guy and proves that he can still play. Having Cal Petersen next to him challenged Quick’s competitive instincts, and he responded well. To be honest, I’m more surprised that Getzlaf played so well. It seemed that he had very little left, and I thought it would be a long goodbye for him, but he was encouraged by the children, especially Troy Terry.

Leiva: Quick has really arrived this season. For the past couple of seasons, it seemed like Cal Petersen would be supplanted forever. But I think that for the first time in a long time, he is healthy and confident. What can you say about Getzi? He just keeps producing and seems to be having fun again, playing with the youngsters Zegras, Terry and Jamie Drysdale among others. He also invests in the Orange County community, both on and off the ice.

Zupke: I’ll just repeat to Helen that Cal Petersen could have lit a fire under him, and he’s already a hot guy, haha.

Elliott: Ha! There are many gates in North America that have experienced the wrath of Jonathan Quick!

Of course, not everything went well. The NHL is dealing with the aftermath of the Chicago Blackhawks scandal, and now Ducks general manager Bob Murray has retired after creating a hostile work environment. He will enter the alcohol abuse program. Will this distract the Ducks?

Barrero: The short answer is no. When these things happen, it tends to be more conducive to team building, especially if the distraction is not from the dressing room. The ducks will be fine, and perhaps they will look at this as a symbolic way of moving forward with their new perspectives and players.

Elliott: I don’t think Murray’s resignation and departure will negatively impact the Ducks. I think their restructuring process has progressed far enough to the point where the talent level has improved significantly and the details are generally in place. I’m curious to see how the Ducks dealt with what is usually a general manager’s job, since interim general manager Jeff Solomon was more of a pay-ceiling guru than a guy who did the exploration himself.

Leiva: I don’t think it will be too distracting. It certainly didn’t look like it was Tuesday night against the Canucks. The news came a few hours before the puck went down and they still watched as they focused on the task. I agree with Helen, this can infuriate the player’s staffing machine, but this remains to be seen. Is Brian Burke available?

Elliott: Only if Brian Burke agrees to knit his ties will he be allowed to return! So no!

Ducks center Adam Enrique scores an overtime goal against Kings goalkeeper Cal Petersen on March 8, 2021.

Ducks center Adam Enrique scores a goal in extra time against Kings goalkeeper Cal Petersen on 8 March 2021 in Anaheim.

(Mark J. Terrill / The Associated Press)

The Kings and Ducks meet for the first time on November 30 at the Staples Center. Who is winning?

Barrero: By my count, by the time this game comes out, The Kings will have a streak of 13 wins. I held on, I held on. Seriously, if the Kings can maintain some level of this positive attitude until then, I give them the edge, as there must be an enthusiastic home crowd behind them.

Leiva: Of course it will be a battle, but the Ducks win the gunfight. What else can I say?

Zupke: The former beat writer in me already shudders because in Kings-Ducks there is always SO MUCH going on. I look at my laptop and suddenly a five minute major appears. I really like the way Kings are playing now. Philip Dano and Alex Jafallo really set the tone with their forecheck and active sticks. So I’ll take them.

Elliott: I love your optimism, Jim Barrero! I can see how it goes to the penalty shootout … and there’s 100 penalty minutes!

To answer the last question, we will return to our Hall of Fame. What is your favorite NHL decoration and when will you add it to the tree?

Elliott: I just bought a Seattle Kraken jewelry so it will debut this season. Always looking forward to putting Gordie Howe on the tree … and Sid. It is planned to plant the tree early.

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