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Clippers dominate the Lakers at the STAPLES Center

Clippers dominate Lakers Staples Center

Clippers dominate Lakers Staples Center

The Clippers showed once again that they are the big bosses in Los Angeles with a dominating win over the Lakers

The Los Angeles Clippers made once again a strong statement. Not only should they be considered as a title contender, but nowthey are for sure the conquerors of the city of Los Angeles. In a Thursday night matchup they rolled past the Lakers with a 24-point outing, 125-101. The usual suspects, Paul and Griffin continued to show their talents and with the help of the 16-yearveteran guard, Chauncey Billups, who just recently returned to action, got a devastating win at the Staples Center.

The Clippers have now won their season series against the Lakers and it’s the first time they achieve this since the 1992-93 season, with one game left between the two teams in April. Not only that, but they have improved their record to 39-17 and theyfind themselves just 2.5 games behind the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. For sure they are eligible to chase the Western Conference championship title and they have made it clear to all the fans and the basketball world in LA that they are now the conquerors of the City.

Despite the turnaround effort from the Lakers, led by Kobe with 20 points, the show the Clips put together was way too much for the Lakers to follow; they just couldn’t overcome an early 15-0 deficit. In fact it was Billups who made the difference, shooting an incredible 70% from the field and hit 5 from 7 from beyond the arc, finishing with 21 points. His team was already deadly even without him. Now that he has come back, his presence could put the Clippers into an immediate championship-chasing position.

Who could really imagine at the start of this season that the team from the City of Angels that would be making a run for a ring would be the Clippers and not the Lakers. Now that we are vast approaching the NBA All-Star break it might be a good chance for Mike D’Antoni’s team to regroup and focus on improving the little details that could save the season. It’s clearly shown that some changes have to be done and that there should be no more excuses going forward.

As for the Clippers, the aim should now be overpassing the Thunder, so that they can have an advantage come playoff time. They have proved their dominance and they have also proved that now it’s their time to shine. The great combination of young star power and veteran experience is what may allow them to do great things. For half the City of LA it’s time for skepticism and reformation. For the other part it’s time for controlled enthusiasm and a strong push towards the finish line.

The Clippers and Lakers face off one more time this season on April 7th at the STAPLES Center. This game is a Clippers Home Game.


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Yes there are Gluten free restaurants near STAPLES Center

Nokia Theater Staples Center

Nokia Theater Staples Center

If you’re heading down to the Staples Center for an event, there are a number of incredible restaurants that you can choose to eat from beforehand. If you happen to have a preference towards Gluten-free foods, you’re in luck because Los Angeles is proud to have a number of restaurants that specialize in Gluten-free food. The following three restaurants are examples of restaurants who offer a Gluten-free menu, so check them out today!

The Shojin Restaurant

The Shojin Restaurant Downtown

1. Shojin
333 S. Alameda St. Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 617-0305
www.theshojin.com

The Shojin is about 10 minutes from the Staples Center Nokia Theater Get Directions

Shojin is located on the third floor of the Little Tokyo Shopping Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The mall is located on Alameda St. between 3rd and 4th street. The restaurant offers 3 hours of free parking, so enjoy your time at the meal. Shojin’s mission is to “provide the most flavorful and naturally preserved meals using organic and natural foods with NO chemical seasonings and harmful additives.” As you can see, they take pride in providing patrons with the most natural food possible. They specialize in vegan, macrobiotic, Gluten free, organic and natural foods. For one of the best Los Angeles Gluten-free restaurants, Shojin organic and natural sushi is a fine choice.

Lucifers Pizza

Lucifers – Damned Good Pizza

2. Lucifers – Damned Good Pizza
1958 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323)906-8603
www.luciferspizza.com

Lucifers Pizza is about 15 minutes Staples Center Nokia Theater Get Directions

Lucifers’ Damned Good Pizza is one of the few pizza joints around town that offer gluten-free crusts on all of their pies. With extremely reasonable prices for the high quality pizza, Lucifers is a must stop for bread loving Celiacs. They deliver Monday to Thursday from 5pm-10pm and Friday to Sunday from 12pm-10pm. Join the RIP club and receive free pizzas as well as a member swipe card after your buy your first 10 circles. Lucifers has been rated one of the top pizza places in Los Angeles by LAWeekly as well as a number of other publications, so come see what the fuss is about and enjoy some of the best Los Angeles Gluten-free pizza!

The Yard House Restaurant

The Yard House

3. YARD HOUSE LOS ANGELES
800 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213)745-9273
The Yard House

The Yard House is seconds away from the Staples Center Get Directions

The Yard House Los Angeles is one of the prime places to hit before any Staples Center event. They have a “Gluten-sensative” menu that includes a variety of delicious dishes from Grilled Artichoke and Spicy Tuna roll to Seared Ahi Steak and a Cuban Roast Pork Dip. Truly a treat for those of without the ability to process flour, the Yard House Los Angeles is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, and it will set the night of right for diners with any special dietary needs!

Los Angeles Staples Center Gluten-free Restaurants do exist, just check out the great venues above and put your food concerns to rest!


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Barry’s Tickets Downtown office is seconds from the STAPLES Center and Nokia Theater
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Eric Bledsoe to participate in Dunk Contest during the All Star weekend

Eric Bledsoe 2013 Slam Dunk Contest

Eric Bledsoe to participate in Dunk Contest during the All Star weekend

Los Angeles will have another representative during the All Star weekend. Eric Bledsoe will travel alongside with his teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest. The league has officially announced the names of the participants for the 2013 Slam Dunk Contest and the young guard from Kentucky will try to impress the crowd with his dunking skills and his athletic abilities.
The other contestants will be Gerald Green from the Golden State Warriors, Terrence Ross from the Toronto Raptors, James White from the New York Knicks, Jeremy Evans from the Utah Jazz and Kenneth Faried from the Denver Nuggets. From a first glimpse at the names on the table one could say that it should be a really spectacular and powerful contest. We’ve seen some great in-game slams from all of these players during this season.

Regarding Bledsoe, apart from winning his NBA All-Rookie Second Team back in 2011, it will be his first chance to win an individual title and also a chance to feel some of the pace of the NBA All Star game. He surely deserves to be there and in fact he has been one of the most enjoying players to watch this season, not only because of his dunks, but also because of the continuing improvement of his game. Many have stated that Bledsoe is a young star rising and the truth is that during Chris Paul’s absence he’s playing like one. Entering the Slam Dunk Contest will be a great experience for him and despite the great opponents he’ll face, let’s all that he brings home a trophy.

Bledsoe is the shortest amongst all the 6 competitors and this might actually be an advantage because both judges and the crowd really like it when short players can lift and deliver amazing dunks, equal or even better than the taller ones. What Bledsoe lacks in height he certainly gains in athleticism and jumping ability and he has all the potential to win it all.

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Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

Dwight Howard

Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

How serious is Dwight Howard about fighting for a championship? How much does he want it? These might be a tricky question to answer but it might hide some of the team’s problems this season. After a fiasco ejection at Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, many critics started again to talk about Dwight Howard and his commitment to making this team run for another title. In fact many of them stated that the 7-time All-Star might just not be ready yet to compete for a ring at the highest level. He might lack focus. You see, with so much talent in the NBA and so many teams really playing at their best, it takes more than just talent and star power to be a champion. It also takes sacrifices, method and commitment. That’s where Howard might not be 100% focused.

Well, even if his second technical that led to his ejection at the game against the Raptors was underserving, it surely is embarrassing and misleading for the whole team to lose its starting center with just 17 minutes in the game, for any reason. It just breaks the consistency of the team and the momentum of the game. It just doesn’t feel right. Plus Howard really seems like having fun now that he is in LA. All the flashing lights are on him, he lives next to Hollywood and is being watched every home game from Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler and other movie starts. Of course he has every right to enjoy that and pride himself for his success, but he has to make success come to him. You could say that even Lebron and Wade have stopped being so playful and showoffs after their first year in Miami –when they lost the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks- and have become stricter and focused on their goal, another ring. Can Howard do the same?
He surely has the physical abilities and the skills to take the Lakers to another level. But I am sure we would all want him to concentrate on helping us win games and at least get to the playoffs. I don’t know if it will take a catastrophe season for us to understand that we won’t be gifted any playoff spot or any wins just because we are the Lakers. We might not even have so many stars in our roster next season. One thing is for sure. To be successful in the NBA, you need to give your heart and soul to the game. You need to love the game. And Dwight needs to understand this and make it an everyday lesson.

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Breaking down Kobe’s defense

Kobe Bryant Defense

Kobe Bryant Defense

Much criticism has fallen on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant lately regarding his individual defensive performance. Of course, the whole Lakers team is circled by clouds regarding the general team picture and this season’s record. After lots of statements from other players, coaches and journalists, Kobe may have proven the best way that he is still capable of playing NBA All-Defensive Team-like defense.

You can question many things about Lakers’ defensive system. You can easily say that Howard is not the inside presence the team needs or that Mike D’Antoni is not utilizing the whole roster the best way possible. But to say that Kobe is not playing good D? Well, ask Brandon Jennings or Kyrie Irving about that. During the last games of the Lakers, Kobe was assigned to guard two of the most lethal point guards in the league and of course the best players of each team. How did he do? He held Irving to just 15 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. He is averaging 23.6 points per game on almost 46% shooting. Two days later, Jennings finished with just 12 points on 4-14 shooting while being guarded by Kobe. His numbers this season are 18.3 Points per game and 40% from the field. But it’s not just that.

Defense is way more than individual effort in basketball. Every team needs a good defensive tactics and a well understanding of how the system works in order to play effectively. This requires a firm setup from the coaching staff and a good execution from the players. Of course Coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t known for his superior defensive systems. But you can’t either blame Kobe for the team’s run this season. In fact, Kobe might be the only player who is playing like a true superstar and leader, as he is supposed to do, on both ends of the court. Yes he might have started to age and yes NBA requires all good players to be good athletes in order to compete. However Kobe has certainly not entered the stage of his career when he can’t compete any more at the highest level. This was made clear especially after the statements of both Irving and Jennings, who had the chance to taste a bit of Kobe’s defense the last two games. Both of them pointed out the great defense they faced and also stated that it was a huge factor for the outcome of the game. The Lakers came up winning both of these games.

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Could Eric Bledsoe be a starter in some NBA teams?

Eric Bledsoe LA Clippers

LA Clippers Eric Bledsoe

Despite his youth, Eric Bledsoe has proven that he is a top caliber point guard. He was selected at the 18th spot during the 2010 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder and was traded right away to the Clippers. Judging from the outcome, LA should be glad to land a player like Bledsoe.

He never really had a true chance proving his potential, but even off the bench, one could say that he can become one of the best point guards in the league. After all, the league lacks of true point guards that can set up plays and find ways to make things easier for their teammates.

Although Bledsoe might not be the ideal pass-first playmaker, his quickness, his terrific ball handling to go along with his long range shooting ability can make him a valuable member in any team in the NBA. The playing style of most teams has changed drastically during the past years. Today, we don’t see the old-fashioned teams, when the playmaker advanced the ball, the guards were on the wings shooting or penetrating and the centers filled the middle. With so much talent on the floors of the NBA, we can see many times Power Forwards playing as point guards setting up plays and centers hitting threes. That’s why any player must possess a variety of skills to become successful and have a chance to compete against the others. Eric Bledsoe is surely one of them.

Because of the injuries of teammates Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, Bledsoe had the chance to start for two consecutive games and guess what, he recorder season highs. It’s clear that Coach Vinnie Del Negro shouldn’t worry so much about his injured players as long as Bledsoe is available. At least he shouldn’t rush them back. When asked about the possibility of starting for an NBA team, the third year guard out of Kentucky replied: “I’m just focused on winning and learning how to win right now.” It’s so important for him and his maturity to be alongside veteran point guards Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups. Playing with them every day, even at practice, is the best school for any young player to improve his skills. Plus, we know that both Paul and Billups are like on court assistant coaches.
So the answer to the question about Bledsoe possibly starting for an NBA team is surely affirmative. The future is projected bright for Eric, as soon as he manages to retain his improving performance and stays healthy. But even at this stage of his career, he could easily start for many NBA teams, not to say above half of them.

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Should Rudy Gay be a target for the LA Clippers?

Rudy Gay Los Angeles Clippers

Rudy Gay to the Clippers?

It’s no secret that every time the trade deadline approaches, teams get more aggressive pursuing players and contriving trades. This year is no exception to that rule. One of the most discussed possible movements currently is the trade of star forward Rudy Gay. He is an all-star caliber player with great athletic and physical abilities and a true scorer. He is also only 26 years old and really has the potential to upgrade any team he will fit into. But should the LA Clippers consider making an offer for him?

Well, first of all Rudy Gay will be expensive to acquire and to maintain. He is currently earning $16,5 million for this season and he is owed a total of $53 million for the next three seasons. We are just about $1 million under the luxury tax, which means the cap space needs to be cleared for Gay’s arrival. Possibly, in a trade, Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler and one other player from the Clips could be packaged, so we can land Gay in LA. Is it worth it?

Well, as great as a player Gay is, he surely will need the ball in his hands a lot of time. He is certainly an upgrade at Small Forward and he can easily create his own shot, but does this team lack of a scorer? Also, Gay is an excellent rebounder for a small forward, averaging 6.4 RPG for his career, but when it comes for defense, you can’t state that he has a similar performance, despite his athletic skills.

In my opinion, with the great balance we’ve seen from our guys and with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford on the team, I would had to think twice before answering. It may sound great having Rudy Gay on our roster, but if you think of what we will lose in order to get him, then it most probably wouldn’t be a great idea to run for the trade. It’s not only about the players we’ll lose, it’s about the chemistry we have already built and that’s why we perform so well almost every night. We are in the best position since our franchise was founder. A winning team shouldn’t be changed.

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Look at the 2013 Los Angeles Angels

LA Angels Tickets

Los Angeles Angels Tickets

With another big offseason splash in Anaheim and the mega-moves made in Chavez Ravine, Southern California just may be the new center of the baseball universe. The baseball arms race has left the Northeast and shifted west. A year removed from the massive Albert Pujols contract the Angels surprised many by doling out another massive contract, this time to the mega-talented but sometime troubled Josh Hamilton. By replacing Torii Hunter with Hamilton the Angels have gotten younger and scarier from an opposing pitcher perspective, with an outfield that now boasts two of the most naturally gifted players in the last twenty years in Mike Trout and Hamilton.

The move to sign Hamilton was coupled with the cost cutting dumping of Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Hunter. It’s no question the Angels have gotten flashier, but have they gotten better? Here’s a rundown with some analysis of their offseason moves.

Josh Hamilton: There’s no question that if Josh Hamilton is healthy the Angels probably boast three of the top ten hitters in the game. From an outsiders perspective the gut reaction to the deal is that the Angels clearly upgraded over Torii Hunter. Although they clearly got younger, the performance of Hamilton from an advanced metrics perspective was comparable to Hunter’s performance last year. As David Schoenfeld at ESPN has pointed out via Baseball-Reference Hunter actually had a higher Wins Above Replacement (5.5) than Hamilton (3.4) last year. Hamilton clearly outpaced Hunter from a traditional baseball statistical perspective (HR’s, RBI’s, etc) but did so with a higher number of plate appearances and in a much more hitter friendly ballpark. Of course Hunter is an aging player and likely would not have repeated his performance of the previous year. Hamilton should also benefit from the presence of Albert Pujols in the lineup. Of course signing Josh Hamilton to such a big and lengthy contract is not without risk. Although he’s performed pretty consistently in Texas there is the always present risk of addiction, as well as a history of nagging injuries. From a win-now perspective it’s probably a good move.

Questionable back-end of the rotation: The Angels went after Zack Grienke but lost out to the cross-town Dodgers. Instead of using the Grienke money on pitching they used in on Hamilton. This combined with Dan Haren now being in a Nationals uniform has left some question marks in the rotation. Haren clearly regressed last year and it was probably wise to move him based on the sheer number of innings he’s pitched over the past decade. With Haren out as well as rotation fixture Ervin Santana the Angels rotation will have a different look. The big question is who’s the number three behind established aces Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson? They went out and added Joe Blanton and Tommy Hansen who both had ERA’s in the high fours in the National League. It’s questionable how those moves will transfer to the AL. Blanton is an innings eater but in most rotations is typically your fourth or fifth starter. Hansen has respectable career numbers but has a history of injuries. The bottom of the Angels rotation is a big question mark.

The Lineup: The starting pitching question marks may not be that important since the lineup is going to be ridiculous. What can you say about Mike Trout that hasn’t been already said, other than the fact he had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history as a rookie. The projected top six of Trout, Aybar, Pujols, Hamilton, Trumbo and Kendrick may be the top lineup in baseball. It’s difficult to find any weak spots and its likely Trumbo surpasses power numbers from last season.

Burnett and Madson: A traditional strength under Mike Scioscia the bullpen was a bit of a disaster last season and clearly in need of an upgrade. In Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson the Angels made a couple of nice moves, especially with the pickup of the underrated Burnett. Over the past few years in Pittsburgh and Washington Burnett has quietly been one of the more effective left set up men in the National League, pitching a solid number of innings with an ERA under three. Just thirty he’s still in his prime and the Angels were able to get him at a premium, just 8 million over 2 years. Even though Madson is coming off Tommy John surgery and may not be ready for opening day, he’s a compelling pickup who could provide some depth at the back of the pen. Madson and Burnett should provide depth, but there are still some question marks with closer Ernesto Frieri. Last season was a tale of two halves for Frieri, with his numbers regressing after the all-star break, contributing to the Angels total of 23 blown saves last season which tied Boston for first in the AL.

It’s hard to get a feel on what these moves will mean in the end. Although Hamilton brings a big bat to the lineup they signed him in lieu of going after pitching. With Haren gone and Grienke with the Dodgers the starting rotation really has some question marks. The bullpen has added depth and Frieri is a year older. Will the Angels simply outscore teams? With one of the best managers in the game they’re always going to be a contender, but it’s hard to see the Angels running away with things in a pretty competitive division. .

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Fans get to watch the LA Kings practice at the Staples Center

LA Kings Staples Center Practice

LA Kings Staples Center Practice

Last night the Stanley Cup Champions welcomed the Los Angeles Fans to watch them practice at the LA Staples Center.

Barry’s Ticket Service offered free tickets to watch the practice.

“It was really cool to watch them practice” said Michele B “I have never seen it before and got me really pumped for this upcoming season, to bad its so short”.

“Thanks Barry’s Tickets my Kids had a great time watching the Kings practice” – Steve S.

“The Kings were really appreciative of the fans coming out to the practice, they waved at the kids and seemed really nice” – Pat M

“Thanks very much for the opportunity to watch them practice, you guys are great”. Tim L

The Kings open up the 2013 NHL Season against the Blackhawks on Jan 19th at the Los Angeles Staples Center.

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Quick make save at Kings Practice

Quick make save at Kings Practice


LA Kings Fans

LA Kings Fans

Los Angeles Kings Practice at the Staples Center

Los Angeles Kings Practice at the Staples Center

Look at the 2013 Anaheim Ducks Roster

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks

Lost in the Kings improbably Stanley Cup run last year was the second half resurgence of the Anaheim Ducks. Under new coach Bruce Boudreau the Ducks went on a decent run that provided a little redemption from the brutal start under Randy Carlyle, but still left them in past place in the Pacific Division. The competitive form under Boudreau, combined with his offensive-minded coaching style, does provide a little bit of excitement for Orange County hockey fans. Still, the club has missed the playoffs two of the past three years and most “experts” agree that they’re a fringe playoff contender at best. So the upcoming strike-shortened season will be an important gauge of the direction and future of the club.

The talent is there, unfortunately the on-paper talent didn’t equate to production this past season. For all the big names on the roster the club heads into this season with a whole bunch of “ifs”.

Some keys to the upcoming Ducks season:
Getzlaf, Perry and Bobby Ryan:
With the new collective bargaining agreement in place NHL clubs will need maximum performance from their top paid players. With tighter salary cap limitations the pressure on the high paid stars to perform will only increase. In Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan the Ducks have a young trio that virtually every other team in the league would take in a heartbeat—if production would only match up with promise.
There are few players more talented than Ryan Getzlaf. When at this best he’s a big and physical two-way center. Unfortunately, at least over the past two seasons, his promise and potential hasn’t lived up to his actual performance and contract. After averaging more than a point per game in his previous four seasons, Getzlaf managed only .69 points per game last year, with only eleven goals in 82 games. He has the ability to be a transcendent, top five-center NHL center and the Ducks need a lot more from their captain.
It would have been hard for Corey Perry to top his Hart Trophy winning fifty-goal scoring season, but near forty-point drop in overall production was indicative of the Ducks overall season. You can’t expect your top goal-scorer to light the lamp fifty times ever year, but perhaps more concerning was Perry netting twenty-five fewer assists than his MVP year.

Bobby Ryan’s production didn’t dip as much as the aforementioned Getzlaf/Perry duo, but it did dip a bit. The American-born power forward scored thirty-goals for the fourth straight season, but did see a fifteen point drop in points from the season before. Part of this lack of production was a failed move to center for Ryan, who’ll be back at and more comfortable in the forward spot. In all there was a near point a game reduction in scoring from the teams big three, a major factor in the slow start and disappointing season.

In the Net:
When healthy Jonas Hiller is one of the top talents in the league and after his struggles with vertigo he was healthy most of last season and provided a respectable 2.57 goals against average. Of course goaltending is only part of the defensive equation, but the Ducks have every right to feel confident about Hiller and his backup Viktor Fasth. The veteran Fasth, who’s played his entire career to date in the Sweden, received the Honken Award as the top goaltender in the Swedish league each of the past two seasons. He’s also the goaltender for the Swedish National Team. The acquisition of Fasth should provide competition for Hiller and give the Ducks comfortable depth behind Hiller, or a capable starter should Hiller get injured or struggle.
Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen

The pickup of veteran puck-moving defenseman Sheldon Souray should help the Ducks defensively and be a boon for the power play. The Ducks were in the bottom half of the league last year in power play efficiency and really lacked what Souray can potentially provide. His puck moving abilities and strong shot from the point should help Getzlaf and Perry and improve the power play. In spending over twenty million in offseason contracts the Ducks are committed to improving their defense. In additional to Souray they signed defensive defenseman Bryan Allen to further shore up the defense. On paper the defensive group should be much improved, with Souray and Allen providing assistance for the Ducks top tandem of Francois Bouchemin and Cam Fowler.

A Bunch of “If’s”
With a huge part of their salary cap tied up in a handful of players the Ducks are not alone in today’s NHL. The moves up upgrade the defense will surely help and the Ducks don’t lack in top line talent. As pointed out by several pundits the Ducks still have the talented core capable to being a contender, but there’s a lot that has to go right to get back into playoff contention. It’s hard to imagine that Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan will repeat the down season of last year, on sure talent alone. Souray and Allen will shore up the defense and the goaltending situation is a good one. Daniel Winnik and Brad Staubitz should provide veteran grit, as will the ageless Teemu Selanne. If young players such as Kyle Palmieri and Devante Smith-Pelly can step up and provide production on the second and third lines the Ducks shouldn’t be as top heavy as they’ve been the past couple of years.

So What Gives?
For all the talent there’s still a bunch of question marks, especially regarding the long-term future of Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan. Bruce Boudreau has had a prolonged offseason to institute his system and he’s a proven commodity. They’ve made some good defensive pickups in the offseason that should help the overall product. Unfortunately they need to make more than marginal improvement. In a division that includes the Kings, Coyotes, Stars and Sharks it’s difficult to imagine the Ducks finishing higher than fourth and a fringe playoff spot at best.

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