Mighty Ducks Look as Inept as Ever


This was another exercise in futility for the Might Ducks. They went out, skated some and lost. No sweat.

The Nashville Predators, the Western Conference’s 10th-place team, looked downright efficient in a 3-0 victory at the Arrowhead Pond Wednesday. But at this point, the Ducks are putting together bleak performances nightly, losing six consecutive games. The Predators got power-play goals from Vilati Yachmenev and Marian Cisar and a third-period coup de grace from Denis Arkhipov. Goalie Mike Dunham stopped 26 shots in gaining his sixth career shutout.

These are not names that will be bandied about Sunday at the NHL All-Star game. But they were more than enough star power to hand the Ducks their 15th loss in their last 19 games.


“This is the worst season I have ever been through,” defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky said. “We have 15 wins in 55 games? I have never lost so many games in a season.”

The one upside was that the announced crowd of 10,961--a franchise low that was estimated to be closer to 6,000--was too small to make its catcalls effective.

“Why would anyone want to come see that,” team captain Paul Kariya said.

Among the absent was Duck General Manager Pierre Gauthier, who had promised to improve the team last summer. Gauthier is on a scouting trip around the league, which may bring a trade.

Of course, what do the Ducks have at the moment that anyone would want? Especially with five players on injured reserve.

“We have enough talent out there to win games,” Kariya said. “Injuries can’t be an excuse.”

Left wing Marty McInnis, who leads the team with 18 goals, returned sooner than expected from a groin injury. That didn’t help.


Coach Guy Charron shook up the lines, mixing and matching players, even breaking up Teemu Selanne and Kariya at times. That didn’t help.

“We keep digging ourselves holes that we can’t get out of,” McInnis said. “We got to play more desperate out there. We’re letting other teams take the initiative. We need to react out there.”

But the only thing the Ducks seem proactive about is their bad habits.

“We got to eliminate situations that give momentum to other teams,” Charron said. “We play 10 minutes very well, then all of sudden you get into penalty problems. If you have to kill one penalty, that will happen. Where we sometimes get in trouble, we’ll get a penalty, soon as we killed that penalty, we’ll get ourselves into another penalty-killing situation.”

The Ducks performed that scenario as if Charron had drawn it up on the chalkboard.

The skated hard for nine minutes, then defenseman Pavel Trnka was sent off for holding at 9:03. Only 13 seconds later, Samuel Pahlsson was called for slashing, leaving the Ducks to kill a five-on-three situation.

The Predators wasted little time in taking advantage. The put together a perfect tic-tac-goal play, Drake Berehowsky to Cliff Ronning to Yachmenev, who easily chipped the puck in from the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead at 9:37.

In the second period, the Ducks’ Jim Cummins was called for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct, leaving the Ducks short-handed for four minutes. The Predators again pounced, as Cisar redirected Ronning’s shot past Hebert for a 2-0 lead at 9:31.


The Ducks have given up seven power-play goals the last 22 times they have been short-handed.

Our special teams have hurt us the last three games,” Charron said. “We have let momentum slip away. That has something to do with some confidence.”

It the Ducks had any Wednesday, it evaporated early in the second period.

They were handed a five-on-three advantage for 1 minute 20 seconds. The Ducks peppered Dunham, who made five saves in 40 seconds. The best being a diving save on Kariya and then a block of a back-hander by Tverdovsky.

“It would be one thing if we were getting opportunities,” Kariya said. “But we’re not creating anything out there.”