After yet another heartbreaking one goal loss last night, including the worrisome loss of Teemu Selanne in the latter part of the game, has fans biting their nails in what has been a surprising NHL season so far. One of the surprises was reinforced in last night’s game, as Columbus racked up yet another road win, continuing in that team’s best season start ever.
Luckily Selanne’s injury seems to be a groin pull, and hopefully some rest and care will do the trick, but he’s just the latest in a string of Ducks injuries, which has created turmoil that the team just doesn’t need to deal with for yet another year. Although he’s already played a few games since he took a shot to the facemask November 13th in practice, Hiller may still be feeling the effects of the injury. Andy Sutton is still out with a broken thumb, Ryan Getzlaf has had some ankle trouble, Joffrey Lupul still hasn’t seen game ice yet this year, and Jason Jaffray is out indefinitely with a torn ACL and sprained MCL and so hasn’t even seen ice time as a Duck. Dan Sexton is barely back after breaking his nose, and Cam Fowler has had similar trouble, although he’s doing very well lately.
Meanwhile, the veteran players’ heads must be spinning with the moving door of players being called up and sent down to Syracuse as the coaching staff attemps to adjust. Dan Sexton and Brandon McMillan were just called up; McMillan will be making his debut with the Ducks. Dan Sexton only spent about 2 weeks in Syracuse. Kyle Palmieri, who had only been called up for a short while, has been reassigned to Syracuse. Troy Bodie was recently placed on waivers and claimed by the Hurricanes, Luca Sbisa was recalled earlier this month and Danny Syvret was sent down, and Matt Beleskey was reassigned to Syracuse, with Nick Bonino getting the call up. And if Beleskey has anything to do with it, he’ll be back in Anaheim like a shot. Confused? So is everyone else.
And yet the Ducks recently had a six win streak, which catapulted them from near the bottom of the Western Conference rankings to a precarious spot near the top, before the last three losses brought them back down to a solid middle of the pack ranking. The Anaheim Ducks’ next game is Sunday, November 21 against the sad, sad Edmonton Oilers, and then they catch a rest break, with no games until Friday, November 26. Both games are at home, so no traveling should help.
As for the Oilers/Ducks game prognosis: despite the flurry of roster changes and the likelihood that Selanne won’t be playing, the Ducks should be able to come out on top, as the Oilers are only doing better than the dismal New York Islanders right now, and although the Ducks aren’t stellar on the road, they have a better road record than the Oilers. That coupled with the Ducks’ relatively easy schedule this week and the Oilers on a road trip tilts the game in the Ducks’ favor.