Ducks set smaller goals to get past regret of last season’s end

Will veteran forward Teemu Selanne be able to improve on last season's numbers for the Ducks in 2013-14?
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Ducks arrive in Anaheim for physicals Wednesday and the official opening of training camp Thursday with their coach vowing they won’t obsess over the regret of how good they were and how agonizing their end was last season.

Thanks to balanced scoring, a knack for rallies and the strong double-headed goaltending of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, the Ducks won the Pacific Division (30-12-6) before bowing to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“For now, we’ll focus on smaller goals, like becoming the best conditioned team in the NHL out of the gate,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.


The Ducks open their exhibition game schedule at Honda Center against Phoenix on Monday, with the Kings visiting Tuesday.

Here’s are the team’s pressing questions as camp opens:

Will youngsters Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri and Jakob Silfverberg fulfill their promise?

Etem, 21, and Palmieri, 22, each scored three playoff goals, with Palmieri spending some time on the first line with stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Silfverberg, 22, had 10 goals for Ottawa last season before coming to Orange County with two others as the Ducks cut payroll by trading fan favorite Bobby Ryan.

“It’s a key question that will somewhat be answered in camp,” Boudreau said. “I’ve got high hopes.”

Can Hiller and Fasth continue to coexist without friction?

Even though Fasth won 15 games during the season, the then-rookie sat and watched Hiller — who won eight of his last 10 regular-season games — start in every playoff game en route to elimination.

Boudreau said he explained his decision to Fasth, and vowed he will “figure it out” as events — such as ideal matchups and fatigue — dictate.

“I’ll bet you 23 of the 30 teams have one bona fide guy. We’re among the lucky ones to have two,” Boudreau said.

At 43, how much does Teemu Selanne have left?

The veteran has opted to leave the golf course and return to the ice, but many who watched his minutes and production decrease at the end of last season believed it was time for Selanne to retire.

“He looks every bit as strong as he always has to me, and the ‘X’ amount of minutes he’ll get will depend on him,” Boudreau said. “With Teemu, it’s like driving a car with the gas gauge broken. As long as the car is running, you’re not worried about how much gas is left in the tank. He’s going to go as hard as he can for as long as he can.”

What impact will the absence of defenseman Sheldon Souray, sidelined through November with a wrist injury, have on the roster?

The 37-year-old veteran had 17 regular-season points, providing valuable leadership and experience, but tore a ligament in his right wrist during the off-season. The Ducks signed Mark Fistric to compensate, and are also hopeful 22-year-old Sami Vatanen can provide some energy.

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