Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kunitz goes down

Ducks forward Chris Kunitz will undergo surgery Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his right hand, likely knocking him out for the remainder of the post-season.
That's a pretty big loss for the Ducks, who, despite scoring 254 goals during the regular season (tied for eighth in the league), really aren't the deepest crew up front.

Kunitz played first-line minutes all season, picking up most of his time alongside Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald both at even strength and on the power play, and finished fourth in ice time among Duck forwards. Formerly waiver-wire fodder, he also posted career numbers with 25 goals and 60 points and did so for the princely sum of $1.056-million (a figure he's signed at through next season).

As I said, it's a big loss — mostly because I haven't the foggiest who Randy Carlyle is going to slide onto that top-line spot now that his left winger has a broken wing. Anaheim's line combinations looked as follows through the first two rounds:

Kunitz - McDonald - Selanne
Moen - Pahlsson - Niedermayer
Penner - Getzlaf - Perry
May - Shannon - random goon

The Ducks coach used the recently returned Todd Marchant and Dustin Penner in alteration in Kunitz's spot for Game 2, but who slides into that spot long term is up in the air. Both the Penner-Getzlaf-Perry and Moen-Pahlsson-Niedermayer trios had played so well through 11 games that it seems a shame to break the combinations up, and what McDonald/Selanne need more than anything is someone who has the wheels to skate with them.

And despite the fact he's 33 and has bettered the 40-point mark only once in his career, Marchant seems to fit the bill in that regard.

That's certainly a downgrade for the Ducks, but how much so remains to be seen. And finally the Red Wings have some company in the injury ward.

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At 10:55 a.m., May 15, 2007, Blogger El Brucio said...

What about Bobby Ryan? I know it'd be "throwing him into the fire", but it'd be an interesting move to try out. And besides, Carlyle shortens his bench as the game progresses anyways... I think Shannon and Marchant might be better fits because of their speed, but Ryan has the scoring touch that might just click.

At 12:34 p.m., May 15, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

If Ottawa keeps playing like they have been, I don't think it matters who wins this Ducks/Wings series.


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