Ducks’ Netminding Shifts Again

Oh boy–the Ducks are messing around with their goalies again.  The team announced this morning that they’ve sent Ray Emery back to Syracuse and recalled JP Levasseur, who has a 2.97 GAA and a .912 save percentage on a rather horrible Crunch team. They are eighth in their division with a 20-33-3 record.  Levasseur’s part in that is a 8-20-3 record.  He does have four shutouts. This is Levasseur’s fourth AHL season, and he is 33-59-9 overall with six shutouts.  So one good thing is that his shutouts are predominantly from this year.

What’s really going on here?  The best guess is that Dan Ellis is doing OK for Anaheim and Emery may be needed down the stretch.  So the team is allowing him to go down to the AHL and get in some more games, thus keeping him fresh should Ellis falter or, heaven forbid, not be able to play.

Last report we saw, Hiller is still having trouble.  As IH reported earlier in the week, the goalie is practicing, but he is suffering from onset of panic when he has to turn his head a lot, such as when tracking a player with the puck behind the net.  More than the issue this presents for his netminding, fans and teammates alike are concerned about this for his long-term health.  The doctors at this point can’t figure out what’s going on.  Hiller did say that he got hit in the head in the All-Star game, but the concussion theory has been ruled out, apparently.

Ellis has done well after a brief stumble out of the gate.  The Ducks have pulled off two miracles this week with him in net.  Wednesday, he stood in while a shot hit him hard enough to dent his mask bars.  I asked him about it after, and he pointed out the damage with a grin. “Oh, that was Datsyuk.  I’ll get a new cage now.  This one’s practically touching my nose now.”

Speaking of his mask generally, he said, ” I spoke with my painter, Dave Gunnerson out of Sweden.  He’s pretty much the best out there.  I got a design out to him, and he’s working as quickly as possible.  We’ll try to get all the gear here as quickly as possible.  I wouldn’t mind getting out of the [Tampa] blue.”
Ellis beat the Wings when Bobby Ryan scored on a penalty shot in OT.  Then, Friday night, he won again as his team came back against Dallas in another exciting, last-minute affair.  He’ll face another test Sunday, as Vancouver comes in fresh from beating LA on a goal that the Kings’ coach said was, and this is obviously a direct quote, “It’s a God damned shame that that goal was allowed.  It should not be allowed.  That’s a penalty.”  Then he abruptly ended his post-game conference.

Speaking of Ellis, he’s a soft-spoken fellow, intelligent.  That’s not uncommon, especially with goalies, who tend to be thinkers.  But his guy and Hiller, I’d bet, would score a combined 250 or more if given IQ tests.  Maybe closer to 275.  So if the tandem ever works together, and Ducks fans are obviously hoping they will, it’s going to be interesting to watch.

If that happens, Mr. Levasseur will be forgotten.  No disrespect to him, but if there’s something else Anaheim supporters hope, it’s probably that he sits quietly on the end of the bench while Ellis carries the team into the post-season.

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