While it’s conceivable the Anaheim Ducks are not meeting the high expectations (or coming close for that matter), GM Bob Murray and Head Coach Randy Carlyle are not going to play witness to this much longer. No, Murray is not going to hit the panic button. He'll be sure Carlyle will have ample opportunity to make the necessary adjustments on his own and from within. The coach recently mentioned the fact that 'different strategies' would be implemented if the current roster didn't begin to turn the corner. A clear cut message is there. Last year's rookie sensation Bobby Ryan has already found himself off the top line that was so devastating in the second half of last season. Center Ryan Getlaf is off to yet another terribly slow start.
If there is one lasting impression Brian Burke has left on this organization, it's the mandatory rule of strong work ethic and the willingness to hold yourself accountable on and off the ice while collecting a paycheck. It’s still evident in their up tempo, rugged style of play, that the players understand exactly the demands, but let’s not kid ourselves here; this just isn't Burke's Anaheim Ducks.
This is a fragile and confused team right now, trying to steer themselves out of a wet paper bag. When the Ducks recently dropped a game to the previously winless Toronto Maple Leafs, they took 17 minor penalties, turned the puck over in the neutral zone repeatedly, and felt that playing 35 minutes of hockey was acceptable. They have it all wrong right now; from their mentality to on ice work habits.
When you start to see penalties such as the Toronto game, you can’t help but to think the attitudes are adjusting due to the frustrations from top to bottom on this hockey team. Is the Chris Pronger trade coming back to haunt the Ducks? Is the veteran defensemen’s on and off ice leadership, presence, and ability to eat up minutes dearly missed? It’s easy to point fingers to player moves such as Chris Pronger’s or the departures of veteran leaders Travis Moen, Rob Neidermayer, Samuel Pahlsson and Francois Beachemin; but in no way, shape or form is that an excuse to play the kind of hockey that undoubtedly shortens your season come mid-April.
Regardless of the departure to Pronger and several others, there are still plenty of Stanley Cup Championship rings to go around on this roster. Where's Teemu Selanne and Scott Neidermeyer? The self pride in itself, and the established winners on the Anaheim Ducks, easily indicate that this slump is not going to last long. In the competitive Western Conference, a two month slump is not an option.