Earning His Spot

Photo: San Diego Gulls

By Richard Gonzalez

Prior to the game on November 19th, against the Florida Panthers, the Anaheim Ducks announced forward Mike Liambas had been recalled from the San Diego Gulls and will make his Ducks debut. The team also announced they reassigned forward Kalle Kossila to the Gulls.

This will be Liambas second career NHL game since his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators on December 3rd, 2016. 

Liambas was an undrafted free agent who is most infamous for his career-ending hit on Ben Fanelli. The hit resulted in the former Erie Otters forward receiving a season suspension, including playoffs, which ended his junior hockey career because of his age. Fanelli was sent to the hospital in serious but stable condition with a skull and facial fractures. 

“Players must understand they shall be held accountable for their actions,” OHL commissioner David Branch said in a statement in an article by The Hockey News. “We must all work towards improving the level of respect players have towards opposing players and the game in general.” 

Liambas is known as a physical presence who isn’t afraid to drop the gloves or to make a big hit. Liambas has played in 270 AHL games scoring 35 points (15 goals and 20 assists) with 886 penalty minutes. He has exceeded the 100 plus penalty minute mark 4 times in the AHL and has a career-high 276 penalty minutes in 2013/2014 season with the Milwaukee Admirals. 

Liambas has played in 13 games with the Gulls this season scoring 5 points (2 goals and 3 assists). His 50 penalty minutes ranks him fourth in the AHL and team lead for the Gulls. 

Liambas only played a total of 3:43 minutes racking up a total of 7 penalty minutes in the game against the Panthers. On his first shift, Liambas dropped the gloves with Micheal Haley during the 4: 03 mark of the first period. That fight would earn him his first NHL penalty minutes and fight. 

Liambas has been in the line up since his recall and has made his physical presence known. He has dropped the gloves twice already in games against the Panthers and Las Vegas Golden Knights players. He got his first NHL point when he assisted on Francois Beauchemin‘s goal and also played a career-high 7:33 in that game against the Winnipeg Jets. He also introduced himself to our Northern California rivals, the San Jose Sharks, by delivering 6 hits in that game. 

This recall was to add some bite to the Ducks. Especially, after that embarrassing 8-3 loss to the Panthers on October 26, 2017. A loss which including a fight between Josh Manson and Haley. Liambas made a quick statement to the Panthers players when he took on Haley. The Ducks have been like glass as of late and we don’t need any more players going down, especially players Manson that wouldn’t shy away from dropping the gloves. Manson is one of our key players who now has 11 points (3 goals and 8 assists) and is really feeling into a top 4 defensive role. 

Liambas has an infamous past but has been good enough to stick around and contribute. He will be one of the first people that will stick up for his teammates and is trying to bring more than just his physical ability to the game. Liambas understands his role and he has been rather decent in each of the last game he has played. The coaching staff may agree with him still being with the Ducks by his increased ice time.  

I don’t think anyone has a right to judge anyone or to say they don’t belong in the NHL. Liambas has earned his spot to play with the Ducks. All of his hits have been solid clean hits. Hockey is a fast-paced game with a lot of high emotions. No one knows if he has intended to injure anyone with his hits in the past. He’s just trying to live the dream of playing in the NHL by doing the best he can by providing energy and physicality to the game. 

I’m glad that Liambas has earned his spot on the roster and support him and any other Ducks player regardless of what role they have on the team. 

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November 25th, 2017

Filed under: Ducks News Tagged: Anaheim Ducks, ducksnpucks, michael liambas


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