So here is the first of the team puck previews for 2010-11. I'll try to do one a day or every two days leading up to preseason. Gotta get back into the rhythm again ...
The Ducks will be missing two of the old familiars this season, with J.S. Giguere sent to Toronto late last year and Scott Niedermayer retiring. Seriously this time. After loathing him for so long while he was a Devil, it was a little odd to see him raise a Cup in Anaheim. Despite all of the hatred, even a Ranger fan has to appreciate his resume. Too bad a lot of it happened across the Hudson ... But back to the Quack Attack.
Familiar Foes: The Ducks have that albino Islander bridge troll Jason Blake but at this point in his career you hardly have to worry about him. You do have to be concerned with Ryan Getzlaf - one of the best all-around players in the NHL - and his wing-man Corey Perry. Jersey boy Bobby Ryan has not been re-signed at this point but it seems like a Dubinsky-esque certainty. Todd Marchant and Saku Koivu are shadows of the players they once were but Teemu Selanne is still dangerous. And if they add Paul Kariya (as is still rumoured) he and the Finnish Flash may be able to find a little of their old form.
N00bz: Nick Bonino, Andy Sutton, Toni Lydman and Aaron Voros. Bonino was assistant captain at BU and had a nine game guest appearance late last season; he has serious skills. Sutton does not, as we well remember from his time headhunting with the Thrashers and Isles and his time as an expert in Ottawa. Lydman is quiet and capable but certainly not a real threat on either side of the ice. And the People's Champ, well, he may be able to block some of Prust's punches with his face, maybe hurting the Ranger's knuckles.
Last Year: Sunday, October 11th, a 3-0 Ranger win.
This Year: Just one game this season - in Anaheim on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011. That should be right before the annual 'oh crap, the playoffs are coming' last ditch pitch for eighth place.
What They Mean To Blue: Very little aside from two points. As a team out west, they won't be battling the Blueshirts for a playoff spot and there is no historical hatred. But, as we saw last year, two points can be the difference between the postseason and golf and the Ducks will likely be battling for a position in the playoffs as well so those two points could be tough to get.