Anaheim Ducks – Things Are Looking Up!
It’s Sunday and it’s time for the Ducks update. There have been only 3 games since the last blog: Pittsburgh, Nashville and Phoenix, and yes – all of them at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love hockey and I love the Ducks. However, driving to the Honda Center almost every other day is getting a bit tedious. (Especially when they were losing. It’s a long walk of shame to the car on THOSE nights!) Of course, come December I will be highly annoyed that there are very few homes games…
So, when last we left the Ducks, they were having a tough time winning at home. Things were starting to turn around when Pittsburgh rolled into town on November 3. After the back to back just played, we felt the team had a chance against the Pens. (Yeah, the Ducks lost in Phoenix, but they showed they could keep up and that’s a start.) Granted, the Pens didn’t have Malkin that night, which was probably for the best as far as the Ducks were concerned. The Ducks organization and the fans showed our appreciation for Chris Kunitz with a video thank you and a standing ovation, respectively. Hockey is still a business, but it’s nice to say thank you when they return for the first time. While the Ducks played as well as they could, they still lost 4-3. Had there been a couple of more minutes, I think Anaheim would have tied the game. This game was especially hard with the penalties. Yes, we bring them on ourselves, but even the Pens fan next to me commented that the refs really don’t like Anaheim; he saw blatant Pens penalties not called.
November 5 brought with it the Nashville Predators and Jonas Hiller’s first season shut-out (5th in his NHL career) in a 4-0 win. Well, now that this particular monkey is off Hiller’s back, I expect to see a few more over the season. This game was very entertaining as a Pred’s fan in the section next to me, decided to try and fight an Anaheim fan over the Kunitz penalty. Now, I think that getting that mad at something you can’t control is pretty stupid, but doing it in someone else’s barn is suicidal. Especially when you are a skinny guy trying to go with a large guy; think Andrew Ebbett against Chris Pronger. Yeah. Get the picture? The skinny Pred’s fan left and didn’t return. Probably the wisest thing he did all night. Anaheim had too many penalties in the 2nd period, but redeemed themselves by scoring 3 goals in the 3rd. Nashville tripped up Bobby Ryan and received a penalty….as did Bobby Ryan for diving. DIVING? The guy’s stick was in Ryan’s skate, causing him to fall, and Ryan is called for DIVING? Yeah…..riiiiiight.
Last night was an interesting game against the Phoenix Coyotes and with it, the return of James Wisniewski off his suspension for the hit on Doan during the Oct 31 game. (If you’d read my last blog, I stated in it that I was waiting for the suspension and damned if I didn’t call it. Monday the NHL suspended Wisniewski for that hit.) I can tell you that all over Duckland, we were hoping for some sort of payback. The payback came in the form of a 4-3 win for the Ducks. I won’t say this was a game well played by Anaheim; they lost a 4-0 game by not playing as hard in the 3rd. They have to remember that a hockey game is 60 minutes. Not 20, not 40 – 60 minutes. They forgot again and lost a shutout. They were lucky in that they did win the game – a “W” is still a “W” regardless of how ugly.
Coming up, the Ducks are on the road: New Jersey, Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh. The team had better tighten up and start playing a full game. This road trip is not going to be easy. Although, Detroit losing 5-1 to Toronto last night – who’da thunk that? WOW! Gotta love it when Detroit loses to anyone!!
Hiller has been in the net for quite a while now, due to JS Giguere’s groin injury. Is Hiller the #1 now in Anaheim? It would seem so, but Jiggy is due back this coming week, so we shall see… While an injury is never good for a player (especially a goalie!), this was the worst time for Jiggy to re-aggravate it. I don’t feel Justin Pogge is good enough to help this team, which is still struggling, so getting Jiggy back into the net is a must. The goalie team of Giguere and Hiller is what is needed. I still believe that, even with the slow start they’ve had.
Wisniewski is back. Corey Perry is hot. Jiggy should return. Hiller’s looking more solid. Mike Brown is playing well. Ryan Carter, too, is playing well. All sounds good to me. Now that I’ve said things are looking up, I hope I didn’t jinx it….
The Anaheim Ducks seem to do better on the road and boy – do they need the points. Not to mention the confidence that would come with the wins.
LET’S GO DUCKS!