I hate that we have these two back to backs with the Canucks. But I'm glad I"m going to the game tonight.
Gah, can't say anything more.
Instead, I have Andy McDonald spam!
Small Center Comes Up Big
Ducks' decision to put offense on shoulders of McDonald pays off
By Eric Stephens, Times Staff Writer
April 13, 2006
It was only training camp, but to Andy McDonald it looked more like the great unknown.
Here he was, in his fourth full season, needing to prove himself again with the Mighty Ducks — the only NHL team he has known but far different from the one he played for before the league staged its 310-day lockout.
There was a new general manager and a new head coach, and there were some new teammates.
And McDonald was unsure of his place after a debilitating concussion kept him out of the playoff run that took the Ducks to the 2003 Stanley Cup finals and also led to a subpar season in 2003-2004.
So what did he do? What he has always done. Work.
Now the 28-year-old center is heading to the playoffs with career highs in every offensive category.
"It's almost like you're coming to a new team," he said of that September training camp. "You don't know how much they know about you. I didn't have a great season the year before so I wasn't in a great position coming into training camp." In 79 games, he had nine goals and 21 assists.
"You try to show what you can do early and prove yourself," McDonald said. "Usually, there isn't much time for that."
Turns out, he didn't need much. McDonald is virtually at a point-per-game clip in what has been a breakout year, and he is one reason the Ducks have surged. Already, he has 31 goals and 49 assists for 80 points, a team record for a center.
Yet there has been little fanfare — until now. As the Ducks' No. 1 center, he is leading the team toward the playoffs and putting himself into the spotlight.
McDonald, quiet by nature, prefers being under the radar.
"I like the idea of laying low," he said.
Given his sudden success, that may be harder to do.
"The teams we've played against many times, they know about him," Teemu Selanne said. "I think he's still an unknown name around the league. But not for very long. He's doing the things that will get him noticed."
As the Ducks are peaking, so is McDonald. He recently set a team record with points in 14 consecutive games and has 12 goals and 15 assists in the last 20 games as the Ducks have gone 14-5-1.
"He makes unbelievable passes and he's a good skater," Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "Reminds me a little bit of Paul Kariya by the way he plays. We're sure happy we have him."
Success for McDonald has been not only a matter of talent but of right place, right time.
Last summer, when the lockout ended, the NHL reinvented itself, installing rule changes that would eliminate obstruction and open up scoring. The result: skill and speed dominate the game now, not muscle.
"The new rules have helped Andy McDonald," Duck General Manager Brian Burke said. "There's no question about that in my mind."