The Ducks were cooked a long time ago, but finally their season is officially done. Finishing their year with a Canadian road swing, the Ducks lost 5-4 in a shootout to Vancouver, followed by a 3-2 defeat of Edmonton. They could not finish their season on a high note, though, with a win in Calgary.
A 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames bookended the season, which began with a loss to Buffalo in Helsinki, Finland.
There was a fabulous run in January and February, but in the end, Anaheim could not overcome the deep, deep hole they had dug for themselves in the first 40 games.
Certainly the Ducks were too talented to finish at the bottom of the NHL.
Teemu Selanne led the Ducks in points for the season with 26 goals and 40 assists. At 41 years and 9 months old, he is the second oldest player to lead his team in points since Gordie Howe did it in 1969. Howe was only four months older than Selanne. When you can score more than 25 goals for the past four seasons in a row, you are not ready to retire.
Corey Perry was the reigning Hart trophy winner and he did not slow down by much. He led the Ducks in goals with 37 and finished in the top five goal scorers in the NHL.
Bobby Ryan scored both goals in the Calgary game to give him 31 on the season. He now has four consecutive seasons with 30 plus goals. He also finished a +1 for the season, which his linemates in Perry and Ryan Getzlaf did not.
On the defense corps, Sheldon Brookbank had a notable season. He scored three goals and 14 points, his best season ever, and finished +11. He was consistent all year long.
Nick Bonino performed well, as did rookie Devante Smith-Pelly, who at 19 made the team out of training camp and stuck for the entire season instead of being sent back to his junior team.
Andrew Cogliano provided much needed third line offense and plenty of flexibility, doing well regardless of which line he was on.
There were injuries as well, which certainly hampered the Ducks. Jason Blake had severed tendons in his hand and a “hit me” sign on the rest of his body. He had more than a couple pucks dinging at him.
Lubomir Visnovsky was limited to 68 games with a broken finger and other ailments. He was injured in the game against Edmonton and did not play in the final game of the season.
Toni Lydman struggled much of the year, and finished the season playing with an upper body injury (actual injuries to be revealed now that the season is over). He certainly did not perform as well as he had the previous season, which did not help the Ducks.
Ryan Getzlaf had a mediocre season at best.
On the plus side, the Ducks will start next season with coach Bruce Boudreau, who took over for Randy Carlyle at the end of November. Boudreau’s positive attitude and encouragement rebuilt up self confidence in the Ducks players. They played much better in the second half of the year, something they should be able to do all year starting next October.
Next October? God willing there is a next October. With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire, it might be an even longer off season for the Ducks, as well as all the other NHL teams.
For hockey fans everywhere, may there be a new CBA and no lockout. For Ducks fans, here’s looking to next season, whenever it may start! It can’t be much worse than this one.