Ducks hope meetings result in more than just talk – LA Times
By Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times
The Ducks have had their meeting of the minds.
There were individual meetings Sunday with Coach Randy Carlyle. And then a team meeting immediately after the Ducks’ 5-2 loss Monday at Pittsburgh, a discussion that Carlyle said included his sharing “an overall view” of the team’s 0-3-1 trip.
Though players after Tuesday’s practice welcomed discussion of the meetings, a few wondered aloud whether that would ultimately help turn around the team’s fortunes beginning Thursday when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Honda Center.
“We’ve had lots of meetings and so far they haven’t been productive,” defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. “But you have to try and get on the same page and get the approach that’s going to work for this team to come out and play well.”
The loss to Pittsburgh was the Ducks’ 10th defeat in 13 games. Through Monday’s games the Ducks (6-10-3) ranked 28th in the NHL in points, 27th in goals allowed (3.42 per game) and 28th in penalty killing (74.2%). They were 16th in goals (2.79) and power-play efficiency (18.9%).
The lackluster results spurred Carlyle to hold practice Tuesday despite the team’s 1:30 a.m. arrival. He said he did it partly because Sunday’s meetings left the Ducks without practice time.
“I don’t think this group has ever cheated us on effort,” Carlyle said. “I think at times it’s the mental focus of ‘I’m wondering if I’m going in the right direction’ or ‘I’m wondering where I’m going.’ “
Niedermayer suggested one area that needs work.
“The biggest thing is . . . the giveaways. Those should be pretty easy to correct. There’s obviously good players in this league that are going to make plays and things are going to happen even when you’re doing your job. But to give them opportunities is tough.”
With injuries to centers Saku Koivu (groin) and Ryan Carter (foot), Carlyle said, “It really throws your combinations and your line matchups.”
Kyle Calder was recalled Saturday from Bakersfield of the ECHL. Calder, who wasn’t re-signed by the Kings after spending the previous two seasons with them, played 9 minutes 33 seconds against Pittsburgh and finished with a minus-1 rating. He described his debut as “all right.”
Carlyle said he is considering other personnel options, including keeping winger CoreyPerry on the penalty-kill unit and playing winger Joffrey Lupul on the third line.
“Hopefully we can find something because we’re definitely in need of a little bit more from everyone,” Lupul said.
Koivu skated for 15 minutes before leaving practice. Carlyle said he’s “hoping” Koivu will play Thursday. . . . Carter did not practice. . . . After having limited roles with San Antonio of the American Hockey League, Matt Beleskey, Troy Bodie and Brett Festerling were reassigned Tuesday to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Ryan Donally will be assigned to Bakersfield. The Ducks don’t have an AHL affiliate this season and have had to disperse their prospects to different minor league teams.