What on ice is wrong with the Anaheim Ducks?
This is a team that started out hot, battling with other teams for the lead in the NHL Pacific Division. But now they are in an epic tailspin that seems certain to doom their chances of qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
As recently as the January All-Star break, the Ducks were 23-16-8 and in second place in the Pacific, just one point behind the first place Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Now they’re 27-29-11 and in seventh place. If not for the expansion Seattle Kraken (20-39-6) they’d be all the way in the basement.
In their last 10 games, the Ducks have posted just one victory. They haven’t won a game since March 1, giving them a streak of nine games without a win.
There are several problems to overcome. Writing for The Hockey Writers website, Sean Raggio has pointed out that the offense has lagged, putting a lot of pressure on goalkeeper John Gibson. During the skid, the Ducks have scored 20 goals but yielded 41.
Injuries have hurt, but special team play – power plays and penalty-killing – has been dismal and Ducks have been trading away some of their top players, such as Rickard Rakell.
Are the Ducks seeking to rebuild for the future? Maybe, but the near future looks pretty grim with four games this week.
In Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Sharks in San Jose, Coach Dallas Eakins had this explanation after his team didn’t score until the third period.
“We need to score in the first 10 [minutes of the game.] All we had to do was bang one.”
One or two is all the Ducks seem to be getting lately, as they sink not so slowly in the west.
Baseball: How much does spring ball matter?
Spring training and exhibition games are reliably poor predictors of how the regular season pans out.
The Dodgers are 2-3 through their first five games and the Angels 5-3 through eight. Anyone want to bet which team will have the better 2022 season? Just for the record, Kansas City and Texas (both 5-2) are having the best spring so far among American League teams, while the Atlanta Braves (5-1) have the lead in the National League.
Of course the whole point of spring training is to try new ideas, new players and get in shape physically and mentally. It’s no surprise, then, that you sometimes have to turn those spring records upside down to get an idea of how things will turn out when the real season gets underway.
Dave Roberts got a three-year contract extension with the Dodgers, which we regard as a slam-dunk move. All he’s done since he took over in 2016 is win five NL West titles, three pennants and the 2020 World Series. Overall, the Dodgers have won 62 percent of their games with Roberts in charge.
Aside from all the other factors that go into winning – talent, deep pockets, luck – there’s consistency and stability in leadership. Roberts offers that. The Angels used to. Who’s doing better?
- Anaheim Ducks: Host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday and again on Thursday, then visit the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
- Los Angeles Clippers: Host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday and then visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
- Los Angeles Kings: Host the Seattle Kraken tonight and then visit the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday and the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
- Los Angeles Lakers: Visit the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and the Utah Jazz on Thursday.
“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica with wire service reports.
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