Game 3: (4) Anaheim Ducks at (5) Nashville Predators, 3 pm
Series tied 1-1.
Anaheim Calling and On The Forecheck -- watch where you step.
I'm not going to spend much time today complaining about Stompgate 2.0 -- once again, it is what it is. Bobby Ryan earned himself a 2-game suspension for stepping on Jonathon Blum's foot, and while it does seem out of sync with some of the league's other disciplinary decisions, especially for a first-time offender, it is sort of an unprecedented action to punish.
So whatever -- harsh outcome for the Ducks, but at most it's off by two games. Feel free to throw your reaction in the comments, or else take a stab at today's post question: who rides shotgun for the next two games on the Getzlaf-Perry top line? I'll note that I haven't really read up on any decisions that Carlyle may or may not have made yet -- this is really just me thinking aloud about some possibilities that he might try.
Option 1: Matt Beleskey:
From Ducks Gameday -- Hittin' the Blooze, 1/23/10
Why it might work: Of all the candidates I'm listing, The Hound of Beleskeyville has probably spent the most time playing with Getzlaf and Perry over his young career, though most of his success there happened prior to this season. Beleskey works hard and shoots pretty well -- he won't provide anything fancy, but Getzlaf and Perry can work with his skillset.
Why it won't work: He doesn't really have the size to complement the top line, so his touches on the cycle have to be pretty quick. If he doesn't get rid of the puck quickly it's likely to be taken away.
Option 2: Teemu Selanne:
From When the ketchup starts flowing..., 11/1/08
Why it might work: Because Teemu is an offensive wizard at any age -- he's definitely got the offensive smarts to keep up with the supertwins. They don't necessarily play a style that Teemu loves, but he shares enough power play time with them that he knows some of their tendencies.
Why it won't work: It would be a huge hit to the Ducks' second line, which I think is important to keep together, especially as Barry Trotz matches up against Getzlaf and Perry. Besides, Teemu's a fighter now; didn't you hear? Sleza has fallen off a bit on her Selanne blog translations (don't worry -- I dig laziness), and my Finnish sucks, but here's an amusing Google translation from Teemu's latest post, talking about his first fight in 18 years.
We have a regular season match vikassa happened, what had not happened in 18 years: an incredibly big Finnish media swollen with a fight. I understand that the first one on the few little fighting had already passed 18 years, and fighting has not been my trademark, but come on - is it now so no big deal to have been.
I've always been against violence, but self-defense of the rink is part of the hustle. I've been playing this sport a long time, and I know exactly equal because the play as hard and try to harm the other. It shall be the difference in why the fights will be. In this case, Losissa was only one option - to take matters into their own hands and show that this does not happen. I did it for me what it was supposed to - the point!
I have always respected teams "fought by". They are on the ice is why! I like them to play police officers who provide us with other "social peace". The instructions are simple: play hard but fair. If you start sikailemaan, so these cops will teach good manners. It sounds like I think is totally fair game for, especially when it is part of this tradition of the league.
Awesome work, Teemu + Google -- you're an excellent combination for amusement.
More options after the jump!
Option 3: Brad Winchester:
Why it might work: Winchester United brings size and a certain level of fearlessness to him that seems like it could work decently with Getzlaf and Perry's cycle game. He won't bring any of B-Ry's skillset around the net, but he could use his large frame to play the role of wrecking ball as Getzlaf and Perry work their magic.
Why it won't work: Winchester United brings size and a certain level of penalty-prone-ness to him. Carlyle has tried some shifts using Winchester on the top line, but never has stuck with it for very long.
Option 4: Brandon McMillan:
Why it might work: Bacon McMuffin is one smart sandwich, and when Getzlaf was injured earlier in the year, he was able to play some top-line minutes for the Ducks. He provides another faceoff option and does a lot of little things that help lines succeed.
Why it won't work: McMuffin's size might be an issue, and frankly, we probably need Bacon on the third line. He's solid enough that he'd be missed there.
Option 5: Dan Sexton:
From Ducks Gameday -- Hittin' the Blooze, 1/23/10
Why it might work: The nice thing about adding the Sex Offender to the top line is that it doesn't disrupt any of the lower lines -- Sex Offender has yet to make an appearance this series. He's speedy, tenacious, and will shoot from anywhere. Not a lot in common with Bobby Ryan's skillset, but possibly something Getzlaf and Perry could work with.
Why it won't work: He may be the littlest candidate of the bunch, and his skillset seems more a fit for the style of the Koivu line. He may crack the lineup in Bobby's absence, but I think he's more likely to fill in for someone else who gets promoted.
Option 6: Jason Blake:
From Ducks Gameday -- Comic Book Saturday, 12/18/10
Why it might work: Nobody hustles like the Rat -- he's cagey and tenacious in his puck pursuit, and would provide the superstars with a quality backchecker.
Why it won't work: Again, it's probably a case where it disrupts the 2nd line too much, though perhaps Sexton could take his spot. Also, there's the issue of Blake's shooting -- he'll hit Rinne in the logo every chance he gets.
Option 7: Kyle Palmieri:
From Rival team bloggers know more about Kyle Palmieri than I do, 7/14/09
Why it might work: This is a wildcard move for sure, and probably only works if Carlyle is a gambler. But still -- want to add a potentially-scoring forward without disrupting any existing lines? Palmieri has done pretty well at the AHL level, and while most of that has happened off my radar, I wasn't unhappy with the 10-game stint that Palmieri had with the Ducks earlier in the season. His scoring hasn't translated to the NHL yet, but the Ducks did go 6-2-2 in the games he appeared in -- luck of the Notre Dame Irish, perhaps.
Why it won't work: The coaching staff knows way more about Palmieri's readiness than I do, and they'll likely make a more down-to-earth decision than my imagination-based brain. Also, he's the one candidate without a Sleek nickname so far -- that probably hurts his chances, too. :)
* * *
Ultimately, there's no ideal answer -- filling in for Bobby Ryan is going to compromise the Ducks' forward depth for sure, and collectively the Ducks are going to have to find a way to step up and compensate, similar to how they did so for a suspended Chris Pronger in the 2007 playoffs or how they did so for an injured Ryan Getzlaf or Jonas Hiller earlier this season.
Prediction: A dramatic finish as Ray Emery and Saku Koivu steal back home ice.
I'll be around for the afternoon drama -- stop on by.