Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 3/2/12
What seemed like a happy marriage between two parties that sought each other out appears to be headed for a divorce just two years into the relationship. The Ducks will have to find another home for its American Hockey League affiliate as the Syracuse Crunch declined to pick up next year's option to continue what has been a rocky partnership. According to a report in the Syracuse Post-Standard on Wednesday, Crunch owner Howard Dolgon said both sides would have had to agree to carry the deal for an additional two years. An option is negotiating different terms in a new agreement but the signs appeared to be pointed more toward a breakup. "We have not executed the option as it exists," Dolgon told the Post-Standard. "At this point in time, we want to look out at what's best for us. That option wasn't the best for us. There's a process we're going through. There are things that need to be looked into further, and things that need to be finalized." The two-year association between the Ducks and Syracuse has been full of potholes. Last season, Dolgon voiced his unhappiness over how the Ducks were running the affiliate during a year in which the Crunch did not advance to the Calder Cup playoffs. Ducks General Manager Bob Murray and his staff supplied Syracuse with more experienced talent this season, particularly in signing some AHL veterans and upgrading the goaltending. But the Crunch have been wildly inconsistent are sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference with a 22-25-8 record. In a statement through a team spokesman, Murray sounded as if he has already turned the page and appears confident that he'll land another AHL affiliate. It will be the third different city for the Ducks after leaving Portland following the 2007-08 season. "This was not a surprise," Murray said. "We have known about this for quite some time. We will have options for next year and are currently exploring the possibilities. We hope to have a strong finish to the season and certainly wish Syracuse well in the future." Before deciding on Syracuse prior to last season after going without an AHL team in 2009-10, the Ducks looked at San Antonio, Chicago and Oklahoma City as possible landing spots. The club's long-term view has been to move their top minor-league team out closer to them and there has been talk that other Western teams may one day join them. An ideal spot would be San Diego where there is an arena and where minor-league hockey once worked successfully. There are also arenas in Bakersfield, Ontario, Stockton, Fresno and Las Vegas where ECHL franchise currently reside. NOTES, QUOTES --A popular perception of the Ducks is that Bobby Ryan has been with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to form one of the NHL's top first lines. The reality often hasn't been the case this season. The supposed best line in hockey hasn't produced near last year's prolific output and Ryan has spent a large amount of time apart from Getzlaf and Perry. But the three got the chance to recapture some of that magic in Wednesday night's game against Buffalo, though it didn't result in any goals. "One of the things coaches have to do is they have to have a feel for who's playing well and who's not," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Where they think they can get some offense for if that's what they're trying to do. If we need something (and) we need to load up the line, I'll load up the line again." --A mishap that led to San Jose Coach Todd McLellan suffering concussion-like symptoms along with other injuries to coaches this season has the Ducks' Bruce Boudreau and other NHL bench bosses more on edge than usual. McLellan was hit in the head by the wayward stick of Minnesota's Marco Scandella and had to be helped from the bench during the Sharks' game Sunday night. He did not coach San Jose in its game against Philadelphia on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Edmonton's Tom Renney also had a concussion after getting hit by a puck before a game while Buffalo's Lindy Ruff suffered three broken ribs when Jordan Leopold crashed into him during a workout. Both missed games. "I don't want to see any more if you don't mind," Boudreau said. "I think we've had enough of that. That's all we want to see." QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think they mean an awful lot. We were really counting on tonight because we would have jumped over a team. Friday, if things went well, we could have jumped over another team. And then Saturday we could have tied a team. It's a little bit of a heartbreaker. But this team hasn't quit in two months so I don't expect them to quit now." -- Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau, on upcoming games against Calgary and Los Angeles after losing at home to Buffalo ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: --C Saku Koivu won 15 of 23 faceoffs on Wednesday against Buffalo, helping improved his team-best rate to 52 percent. Koivu has just a goal and two assists in his last nine games. --LW Matt Beleskey got back into the lineup against Buffalo after being a healthy scratch for two games. Beleskey's play has been up and down this season as he logged only 9:11 against Tampa Bay and 7:14 against Carolina in the two games before sitting. --LW Jason Blake went scoreless for a sixth consecutive game and has just a goal and an assist in 14 contests since returning to the lineup after missing two games due to a foot injury. MEDICAL WATCH --G Dan Ellis continued to rehabilitate after tearing his groin muscle during a Jan. 7 practice. Ellis has yet to take any shots in goal and remains out indefinitely. GOALTENDERS --Jonas Hiller --Jeff Deslauriers DEFENSEMEN --Francois Beauchemin, Cam Fowler --Luca Sbisa, Lubomir Visnovsky --Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank FIRST LINE --LW Bobby Ryan, C Ryan Getzlaf, RW Corey Perry SECOND LINE --LW Niklas Hagman, C Saku Koivu, RW Teemu Selanne THIRD LINE --LW , C Nick Bonino, RW Andrew Cogliano FOURTH LINE --LW Matt Beleskey, C Rod Pelley, RW Devante Smith-Pelly
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