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The Ducks' forgetfulness could be an asset

Ducks forward Bobby Ryan says the team is writing off the first half of the season. Just as well because they've been creeping toward playoff eligibility since January.

February 25, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Ducks left wing Bobby Ryan, left, celebrates with teammates Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
Ducks left wing Bobby Ryan, left, celebrates with teammates Teemu Selanne… (Chris O'Meara / Associated…)

Hockey amnesia, indeed, can be a good thing.

For the Anaheim Ducks.

"I think we're thinking about forgetting everything," Ducks forward Bobby Ryan said Saturday after practice. "Pre —"

He thought for a second.

"Pre-Jan. 1, I guess," Ryan said. "That's where things kind of turned for us and we found our stride. So I think every other game, previously, we'll just take as a write-off right now."

The Ducks were finally home after a 15-day trip in which they were 5-1-2, punctuated by a shootout win against Carolina on Thursday. Anaheim plays Chicago on Sunday at Honda Center.

The Ducks were 20 points out of a playoff spot Jan. 5, crept within four after beating the Hurricanes and, heading into Saturday night's action, were six out of the final slot in the Western Conference.

"I guess we like drama around here," enforcer George Parros said.

The surge in the standings and jolt of confidence happened about a month after Coach Bruce Boudreau replaced Randy Carlyle, a big difference from when Boudreau took over in Washington in the 2007-08 season.

"The last one started immediately, in November," Boudreau said. "This one took till when we [the Ducks] beat Columbus for the second time. So it was about a month later. And we were further back. So it's a little tougher task."

Teemu Selanne, 41, has seen just about everything in his storied NHL career. Even this season was something new for Selanne, who leads the Ducks in scoring with 53 points.

"The funny thing is I haven't seen that in any team I've played on before: How many guys were struggling at the same time," he said. "Usually a couple of guys are struggling and then other guys can turn it around.

"But when so many guys struggle at the same time, that's the toughest part. Obviously now we've got all the cylinders [firing]. It's fun again. We just keep rolling."

The other difference is that the Ducks, widely anticipated to be sellers, may be relatively quiet Monday, the NHL's trade deadline. Ryan, for instance, faced months of intense trade rumors.

He was asked if he was surprised still to be in Anaheim.

"Am I? No, not really," Ryan said. "I thought there for a time there was a period where I was going to be going. But once Bruce came in, I thought that would probably put an end to it. And it has. I haven't heard anything since.

"Friends and family don't even bother me with it now. So it's very nice. I didn't want to go anywhere. I never wanted to leave. I love it here, and I made a home here. This is where I want to be.

"I'm happy. Things have turned for us, and hopefully we can salvage this and make something good out of it."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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