Although the Ducks sent a squad of decent and promising young men to British Columbia for a five-team round robin rookie tournament, they do not have much to show for their efforts. Two games in (halfway there) and the Ducks have lost both of them.
The first game against the San Jose rookies on Sunday evening was a 4-1 loss. Nick Bonino scored the only Ducks goal and that was late in the third period when all was lost. As it was in the regular season with the main NHL teams, the Sharks dominated the Ducks, outshooting and outplaying them.
The Ducks appeared to gain some momentum in the third period of the first game, and they took that into their second game on Monday night. This one was against the Calgary Flames, who were playing their first game of the tournament. The Ducks got more offense and seemed to find their game in the beginning. Midway through the second period, the game was relatively even in shots and in the score, 3-3. Then the Flames broke away and scored five unanswered goals. One final goal by the Ducks in the waning minutes of the third period made it 8-4, but by then the game had been long over. Like the day before, the Ducks were outshot again.
On Tuesday the team gets a day off from official game play, although they will practice and hopefully work out some of the problems that have emerged. With two games left to play against the Oilers and Canucks rookie squads, the Ducks need to regroup, refocus and try to work as a cohesive unit.
Not only is pride at stake, but an invitation to the Ducks main camp which opens this weekend. Cam Fowler, who was chosen in the first round of the entry draft this past June, has shown much promise and talent in this tournament. There is a good chance that Fowler could make the team, despite being just 18.
Emerson Etem continues to show off his skating abilities. Devante Smith-Pelly remains a physical presence, something that was also noticed in July at the Ducks conditioning camp.
The future certainly shows promise, but it would look even more promising if the youngsters could pull out at least one win in the tournament. They have two more chances to do so on Wednesday and Thursday.