Don't forget to stop by Anaheim Calling and say yello to the nice folks over there and make sure you check out their game day coverage.
1) When Viktor Fasth signed the two year extension a couple weeks ago, it confirmed what we all had be thinking - we were coming to the end of the Jonas Hiller-era in Anaheim. It is eerily similar how Fasth is doing to Hiller what Hiller did to J.S. Giguere; to put it simply, it's out with the iPhone 4s and in with the iPhone 5. Both models work perfectly fine but one of them is newer and slightly fancier.
Hiller played a lot more games last season because, well, he had to. His backups were not strong and couldn't contribute to the major push the Ducks needed to get back into contention. He earned his $4.5M cap hit then, now it's just too much cash for someone who is still good but not great.
I can't see the Ducks trading him before the deadline because, as St. Louis fans know, having a strong goalie paring is very big part of the team's overall success. They'd likely trade him near July 1 (or whatever the Free Agent date is now) to free up cash to go shopping for Corey Perry's replacement, err, quality free agents.
2. What do you think is different this season than last season? The Ducks this year are great guns, and last season they were great meh.
2) Last season was a cluster to begin with. The players had tuned Randy Carlyle out almost right away and dug themselves such a huge hole it was nearly impossible to get out of. Bruce was a welcomed change to the team but the mental damage was already done. There was zero confidence in the group. Plus there just weren't the right pieces in place to play well in Bruce's system.
Now that he's had significant time to assemble the group he needed and he's fully implemented his system, it's all come together. It's the old cliche, 'the players have bought in' to what Bruce is selling.
3. What's the general consensus about the Ryan Getzlaf contract? Too much? Too little? Juuuust right? Do you think that he can finally get hairplugs at the same place that Jeremy Piven did?
3) The consensus seems to be mixed. I think it was a little much given the last two seasons he's had. If they offered him a contract based on this season alone, $8.5M makes sense. I would have gone $7.5M just because of the inconsistencies and to save cash to throw at Perry or his replacement. The interesting question I have now is - do you offer Perry more money than your captain? I'm not exactly thrilled for the soap opera that will be playing out over the next weeks and months.
And Jeremy Piven got hair plugs?! I guess I never noticed he was balding since he wore all those stupid looking page-boy hats. I always compared Getzy to Wayne Rooney - I think they're around the same age. Rooney got hair plugs and looked silly for a while. I'm not sure how having to wear a helmet would stunt the hair re-growth process.