Anaheim Ducks – The Time To Panic Is Now
Well, actually, the time to panic was last week.
The Olympics are over and the Duck Olympians brought home 7 medals collectively: 3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze. The only Ducks not to bring home medals were Jonas Hiller and Luca Sbisa, both played for Switzerland. However, it has to be said that Switzerland absolutely scared the crap out of the “big teams.” I also have to point out that Canada and the US had the NHL Dream Teams, while Switzerland had Hiller, Sbisa, Streit and Weber. So, basically 3 NHL players - I’m counting Sbisa and Weber as each a half. (Sbisa is with his junior team and Weber is no longer in the NHL.) And they played THAT well? I’m big in rooting for the underdog, so I was happy they got as far as they did. (Sidenote: I think Hiller forgot his European play, however, during the Norway and Belarus games…..)
Why do I point this out? Because the Ducks have 7 (count ‘em! SEVEN! Sieben!) Olympians playing on this team and the Ducks are damn near out of playoff contention. Let’s recap, shall we?
Trade deadline was March 3 – Ryan Whitney was traded (Hallelujah!!) to Edmonton for Lubomir Visnovsky. GREAT trade for the Ducks; to the Oilers: SUCKAS! That silver medal that Whitney had must have made him look good. We also acquired Aaron Ward from the Hurricanes. Again – good trade. Sadly, we lost Petteri Nokelainen to Phoenix; it was bound to happen as he’d been scratched a lot. I wish him all the best. Earlier, the Ducks had sent down Nick Boynton and he was traded as well. The Ducks also traded G Vesa Toskala, which wasn’t surprising. He’s better off with the Flames anyway. Good luck to him. G Justin Pogge is no longer a Duck either. As it stands today, Curtis McElhinney (from the Flames) is the backup to Hiller and Timo Pielmeier is our #3 (which I wholeheartedly agree with!).
Wednesday, March 3 saw the Avalanche come into Anaheim and from what everyone was saying the Ducks were the team to beat now. SEVEN OLYMPIANS!!!!! 6 MEDALS!!!!!!!! They were going to be tough! Uh huh. Yeah, not so much. This team was HOT before the Olympics – Anaheim had pulled to within 3 points of the 8th place. The Avs were a much better team than Anaheim that night and won, 4-3. The Ducks did try to come back, but I think they forgot WHO they were playing. Anderson was in the net, for crying out loud…. Yes, we were short on the blue line, but that’s what happens on trade deadline. The home winning streak was snapped.
Saturday, March 6 the Ducks were in Phoenix to play the Coyotes. I was there as well. Not only did the Ducks keep me from checking into my hotel room (Them: “We’re so sorry – we have hockey players on late checkouts today.” Me: “Ahh, yes – that would be my team.”) but they made me sit through an agonizing 4 -0 shutout on top of it!!! Props to Bryzgalov; he recorded his 7th shutout of the season (HEY - one shutout for each Duck Olympian on the ice that night!) which was also a franchise record 34th win of the season. Good to know my hockey team helped in creating Coyote history…… The Anaheim Ducks owe me bank for that trip!!
Hotel room – one night, complete with late checkin: $180.
Double cocktail at arena: $20
Watching your team play like they’ve never seen a puck before: FRIGGIN’ PRICELESS!
Same time, next year??? I did get a free Coyotes hat, though.
Sunday, March 7 saw the Ducks (and me) back at Anaheim to play the Montreal Canadiens. Saku Koivu’s old team! I have to say, the Ducks played much better than the night before. However, they blew an early lead (again!), Bobby Ryan missed an empty net he usually could have made with his eyes shut and lost in the SO 4-3. At least it’s a point…..but the Ducks are now 7 points out of the 8th position. I won’t go into the shoot out goal ‘controversy’ as I believe Anaheim and Hiller were robbed. Say what you want about Hiller, but he will take the blame on something when it’s his to take. He will also stand up for himself as well. My opinion any further than that is moot – the bottom line is that Anaheim lost and therefore may have lost their chances to get into the playoffs.
Anaheim needs to win, win, win and hope, hope, hope for some key losses from other teams.
Next up – 6 more home games. Let’s hope my team can win all of these and start a new streak at home. Do I think the Ducks will be in the playoffs? Not if they play like they did against the Coyotes. Do I think it’s possible for them to once again be the Comeback Kids? Yeah, I do.
As mad as I may get, I’m still a Ducks fan. No matter how frustrated I get with my team, I’m sure they are even more frustrated with themselves.
LET’S GO DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!