At 8-2-1, the Anaheim Ducks have surprised a lot of people during the first quarter of the NHL season.
Sheldon Brookbank is not one of them.
"I always knew that there was a lot of underachieving going on in Anaheim, for whatever reason," said Brookbank, a Blackhawks defenseman who spent the last four seasons with the Ducks. "That's always been one of the things about the Ducks -- they start off slow, and we were always playing catchup while I was there. I think they kind of got ahead of it this year. Nobody ever really wants to play the Ducks in the playoffs. They beat you a lot of different ways with their size, skill and goaltending -- they have a lot of things going for them. I definitely wasn't surprised."
He was, however, disappointed to be a scratch tonight against his former teammates. Michal Rozsival will be in the lineup instead for the second straight game.
Brookbank called the Ducks "a motivated team this year." Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said the Ducks were eager to use tonight's game against the league-leading Hawks as a chance to see just how good they are.
"You always want to beat a team that's undefeated," Boudreau said. "You always think of it as quite a challenge. They're by and far right now the best team in the league, so it's a test for our team, who's still trying to find a measuring stick for us for where we fit, because nobody picked us to be anywhere. Our record's fairly good, but are we playing good? Are we meeting teams on bad nights, on back-to-backs? So you see a team that didn't play last night that's at home for the first time, it should be a really good measuring stick for our team."