Next to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Anaheim Ducks were arguably the biggest surprise during the regular season. Anaheim held down second place in the Western Conference from start to finish, largely in part to the play of their captain Ryan Getzlaf.
After a disappointing 2011 season that saw his numbers dip to 11 goals and 57 points, Getzlaf rebounded with 15 goals and 49 points, almost surpassing the previous season and doing so in 34 less games.
In May, Getzlaf, who makes Southern California his off-season home, made sure he will spend his winters here as well when he signed an 8-year, 66 million contract extension.
Recently, I had a chance to talk to Getzlaf about finishing his career in Anaheim as well as some of the lighter sides of hockey.
JD: Was there ever a thought to test free agency?
RG: "It's always been my goal to be here. I've always envisioned myself playing for one team. Especially this organization. It's been great to me. It's nice to be settled in and know that I'm going to be here for a long time."
JD: What do you remember most about your first game?
RG: "My first game, holy lick. I'm not that young anymore. I don't remember a lot, to tell you the truth. I remember the night before more than anything. I was nervous. Not a lot of sleep. Joffrey Lupul can attest to that."
JD: Last time you were on the wrong end of a bodycheck?
RG: "I got hammered by Bryan Bickell when we played Chicago. He got me good and then Brad Staubitz let Bickell know that hits like that won't be tolerated and they dropped the gloves."
JD: Best practical joke that you were a part of?
RG: "When we sewed the keys into one of my teammates' pockets ... I can't mention any names. Payback sucks!"
JD: One Eastern Conference city you missed playing in this season?
RG: (Laughs) No offense, I did not miss the fact that we did not have to make those East coast trips.
JD: Who is the one teammate that looks like he got dressed in the dark?
RG: Daniel Winnik!
JD: Best Bruce Boudreau tirade?
RG: When he got pissed at us, his ties would be all over the place, flipped around. It was just awesome.
JD: Last concert you went to?
RG: Eric Church or it may have been Jason Aldeen.
JD: If you're not "crashing" on the plane coming back from a road game
RG: I am not usually sleeping. I'll be playing cards. Nick Bonino has taken me for some good money when we play. He'll be happy to see that in print.