Wednesday, June 24, 2015

History repeats itself...

The dust has finally settled with the 2014/2015 NHL season coming to an end, and the NHL Blackhawks (formerly Chicago because let's face it, they are the leagues precious team) are the Stanley Cup champions for the third time in six seasons. As for the Anaheim Ducks, we all know the disappointing result of the Western Conference Final which was all too familiar. I was planning to go into a little bit of detail, but after talking to my fellow Ducks buddy, Albert, I'm just going to sum it up into one sentence:

"Game 7: Ugh. That sucked...again."

From last two game 7's against the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings, one would have hoped that the third time (or in this case, third game 7) could have been the charm. However, that was not the case. Game 7 ended yet in another team embarrassment - one in which was personally harder to swallow than the results of those other games from the prior two seasons. Some said that last years game 7 disappointment was worse due to the fact of Anaheim's lack for showing up to the fan rivaled LA Kings...

But not for me. 

This one was harder because I felt Anaheim were the better team with not only skill, but physically and offensively. Yes, the Hawks are one offensive power and Duncan Keith is powered by the Force which can be measure as strong as a small pony, but the Ducks loss to themselves, and they were one win away from facing off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the SCF after taking game 5 in dramatic OT fashion and going 3-2 against Chicago then failing to win games 6 & 7. Had Anaheim gone to the Cup final, I feel they would have taken the title, but I digress. Anaheim's effort towards the end was pathetic (which is why it's taken a while for me to write about it) and the pain was just too real. 

[sad shaves are sad]

So, what happens now? This post season showed that the team are still in need of a number 1 caliber defenseman. It also showed that Beauchemin is on the end of his career, and the WCF put the spotlight on his number of defensive break downs. Leadership is also a question. Yes, it was announce that Getzy had a sports hernia that doesn't require surgery, but most of the team didn't show up as well as Andersen giving up bad goals at the wrong time. The bright spots were players like Kesbae (who showed more leadership than the hairless cap'n himself), Cogs, Silvfy, and Thompson. Hell, even Stoner played better than Beauch! With the NHL Draft and Free Agent Frenzy quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see what the team does to fix their minor issues. It was announced Tuesday that Matty B wants to be a greedy-not-so-proven player by "immediately rejecting" what sources reported an over-paying 4-yr/$16MM contract. With that, Beleskey will test free-agency, and I'm hoping GM Barstool Bob will work a trade before July 1. There's not much that the team need to fix beside said 1D and possibly a forward. Barstool is not one to shell out a lot of money for just a name, so we will have to wait and see. 

I just hope the next 100+ days go by rather quickly, and I know I'm not the only one. Either way, I'll still be posting during the summer when news hits...cuz I gots no life. 

Go Ducks!

Friday, May 15, 2015

An update on a tradition...

It is not known exactly when it started, but Wikipedia states that hockey Hall of Famer, Denis Potvin, described it happening around the 80's when the New York Islanders would play five games in the first round. Since then, it stuck as a tradition amongst NHL players during the post-season run to the Cup. We all know this tradition as simply being called: The Playoff Beard. 

Now, players aren't the only ones who take part in this tradition; many fans have joined in. The rule is this: as long as your team is in the mix for Lord Stanley's hardware, you don't shave (it's also a part of sports superstition). Some beards that grow are mighty and true. While some are... well, worth a pat on the should for effort. Personally, I've joined in this tradition. Alright, I'll be completely honest, I've never been genetically blessed with the ability of growing a full manliest of man beards. One post season (which saw the Ducks get taken out by the Nashville Predators), my father saw what I was attempting to do to my beautiful punim and stated, "Georgie. Believe me, it's not going to happen. I know because I've tried". Even though as a young lad, I remembered my grandpappy on my mother's side having one full stache. Unfortunately, I took my dad's side when it came to the lack of facial hair. However, I saw fit to attempt it with all my might! And so far, this season is the season to have at it! 

Before this season's Stanley Cup Playoffs began, I did something that I hadn't done in a little over a year: I took my facial skin down to what I call "Baby Face Georgie" status. During this past year, I kept a little facial hair and I really dug it. In this tradition, one must start fresh and so I did. Thankfully, no trimmer has touched what little I've been able to grow due to the fact that after two rounds, Anaheim are still in the run. Being that this post is mainly about the Playoff Beard and where I stand, the status has gone from "Baby Face Georgie", through "Pathetically Pre-pubescent", and is now at what I am calling "Thunderously Tween"!

Okay, so it's not as full as what I would rather have and dreamed of. I mean, I'm not quite at the point of where one would look at me and immediately think to themselves, "Whoa. That dude must chop trees for a living" - BUT it's coming in! I've observed that it's not coming in full, rather growing long and missing connections. Underneath my chin, you'll plainly see that it's filled to be one curly mound of madness which is enough that my family have been begged me to shave. Hey! It's my Playoff Beard, I do what I want! And as long as my team are still in the race, grow it, I will.

Alright, let me run my quick update on the Ducks' progress (which I'm sure you all would rather read about). Anaheim were able to douse the Calgary Flames in 5 games, and were shaking hands with their opponents inside the Honda Center making it 22 consecutive wins at home against Calgary. Ramo would continue to be the starting netminder after Hiller's atrocious attempt in game 1. Ramo was strong and although the Flames were able to amount a comeback with winning game 3 in overtime, they would be no match for the Ducks. Anaheim now get set to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. This will be the first time that Anaheim have reached the third round since winning the Cup in the 2006-2007 season, and the battle will be a difficult one. Chicago is one of the leagues fastest teams and are known for their offensive abilities that can definitely support their goalie, Corey Crawford. Crawford didn't have the best first round, and was chased by their opponent (Nashville Predators). The Blackhawks would take round one in 6 games before sweeping the Minnesota Wild in round two. So far, many "experts" have placed Anaheim as the underdogs and have predicted Chicago to win this upcoming series. Once again, I do not predict. Anaheim's first two opponents were nowhere as experienced as Chicago, but Anaheim are up to the task. In my most humble opinion, Crawford is overrated. If Anaheim can shut down the top line comprised of Saad-Toews-Hossa whilst keeping an eye on that pesky Pat Kane kid, they'll have success. Both teams defensive units are very mobile and one Frandersen will have to outshine Crawford. Anaheim will also look to counter Chicago's speed with size. The Blackhawks are indeed a smaller team with skill, but Anaheim are a bigger team and an equally skillful one at that. 

In the end, I will be hoping to move out of "Thunderously Tween" and well into the "Oh crap! I guess that isn't just dirt on your face" Playoff Beard status. Make it so, Anaheim. Make it so.

Go Ducks!

Monday, May 4, 2015

The story so far...

Detroit Red Wings legend, Steve Yzerman, scores goal number 692 (which would be his last before officially retiring months later). Martin Scorsese's film, The Departed, is released on the big screen and NBC's 30 Rock debuts on the smaller one. The iPhone is one year away from being released to the public. And finally, my car was stolen, I was working at Disneyland, and was a hell of a lot fatter.

What do these things have in common with the Calgary Flames?

It's simple: that would be the year that the Flames would last win a game in Anaheim, and that year happened to be 2006. 

The Calgary Flames were looking to change the fact that it had been nine years since winning a game against the Ducks inside their beloved barn located in Anaheim. Since that series in round one of the 2005-2006 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Calgary has come up empty handed when leaving what is now known as the Honda Center, and after games one and two of this years second round, nothing's changed. In game one, Jonas Hiller was called to be the starter against the team he played with for 7 years. Hiller seemed to be excited, he appeared ready for absolute revenge. To show the team that they made a mistake not re-signing him after one could arguably described to as "did him dirty" at the end of his last season. Hiller was motivated.


Well, good ol' Jonas was chased by that former team after he let in 3 goals on 14 shots in the opening game, with Kari Ramo replacing him - so much for sweet revenge. Anaheim would go on to score 3 more goals, conceding 1 flukey goal mid-way through the third period. Final score of game one: 6-1.
As I sat in my seat, fortifying the impression of my bum to the cushion, I came to the conclusion of, "Ok. Ducks are going to win, but man, this is muy ridiculoso". 

I then wondered what would come of game two. Surely, a walloping like that wouldn't happen again. Or would it?

Prior to that second game, Calgary's bench lord (Bob Hartley), announced that it would be Ramo in net (who plays an aggressive style which differs from Hiller). He challenges players, but his weakness is that he sacrifices the space behind the net making it easier for players on the opposite side to score. Ramo would make better saves on great scoring chances in the first period of game two. It's easy to say that if he hadn't, the first 20 mins would have ended with his team losing about 0-3, but it would end 0-1 with Anaheim only taking seven and a half minutes to open the scoring. In game two, a better Calgary team appeared, but couldn't muster up enough offense to get one past Frandersen. The Ducks would score two more in the third, and Freddy would stand tall getting the shutout. Final score of game two: 3-0.

With Anaheim up two games, the series now swings to Calgary with the Flames hoping to turn it around and finally win a game or two where the Red Mile lives. The Calgary players have stated that they're looking forward to playing at home because they can thrive off the home crowd who will be there cheering them on loud and proud. Hmm, where have I heard that before in this playoff season? I'm drawing a blank. It's like I'm suddenly seeing "white", I'm having a hard time remembering, blasted old age! Either way, Anaheim will hope to take the Calgarians out of it and shut them up. It can be done, the Ducks just have to do it. They had better because if they don't, I'm gonna have to be a terrible son and leave my mom stranded at some restaurant while I watch game 5 which happens to land on Mother's Day (if necessary). 

My inquiry is this: Kiprusoff gonna come out of retirement or will tops stay on? We'll see just how desperate the Calgary Flaming Wee-Wees will be.

Go Ducks!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The stage is set...

The pieces are in place, the jello is firm, the cheese on the pizza has melted. Well, great. Now I'm hungry.

The second round of the 2014/2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is almost ready to go with the first round concluding tomorrow in Tampa Bay where the Lightning hope to win against the evil and satanic Detroit Red Wings (hurry up, you jerks!). As for the Anaheim Ducks (who swept the Winnipeg Jets in the first round by way of glorious history-making comeback fashion in Games 1 to 3), they'll be squaring off against the Calgary Flames for the first time since the 2005-06 Stanley Cup Playoffs that concluded with Anaheim coming out on top after the series went to seven games. But let's get real: what we mainly remember of that series was one Fran├žois Beauchemin magically turning Jarome Iginla's face into a punching bag in the first minute of Game 6 – something that many would say was the turning point of that series.

The big storyline of this upcoming round with Calgary will be the Flames' own Jonas Hiller facing his ol' netminding compadre in Freddy Andersen and his ex-teammates. Hiller will desperately hope to get sweet and savory revenge on the club that decided to start the younger and much lesser experienced Frandersen in last seasons' playoffs. However, it's beyond easier to say that this year's Ducks are better built than last year's unit (see: Kesbae). With depth coming from all four lines – and thanks to the trade deadline acquisitions on the back end – the task will be hard for Hiller and the Flames, who suffer from the same kind of youth and inexperience as the Jets team that Anaheim dispatched in four games. 

As for Anaheim, the players who are still around from last season have grown a year. They'll need to prove to themselves yet again that they belong amongst the last remaining teams traveling on the road to the Cup and hopefully it will be an epic journey, one that would make JRR Tolkien weep. They know Hiller's weaknesses (*cough* top glove corner! *cough* five-hole! *cough* make him handle the puck! *cough* put a freaking fat booty in front of his face! *cough).

Whoa... I just took a drink of invisible water that must've gone down the wrong tube.

Back to what I was writing... Crap, I forgot. Dammit, Sbisa!

Being that I'm stupidly superstitious, there will be no predictions. Just hope.

Bloggers note:

I know those who have read this silly blog since the beginning (aka .5 human beings) are probably wondering, "Uhhhh what? You're back? Did you at least bring us delicious snacks?! Oh, and where'd you go?" I sussed that I would just throw this post out there and see what response I would get. I've been having that hockey blogging itch. So please, feel free to let me know if I should oil the gears and start 'er back up, or just stick to being best mates with my fat cat Prince. Either of which, I'd be more than happy and pathetic to do! Until then and as always...

Go Ducks!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back in the saddle again.

Where has the time gone?

Seems that the last post I did for OOTP was almost a year ago, and I was still living in Olympia, WA.
Now, let's quickly sum up what has happened since then…

I moved back home to SoCal in Nov. Returned to watching a lot of Ducks games inside the Pond with my better half, Lauren! And I mean A LOT! Anaheim went on an amazing run towards the end of the season to nab the 4th seed in the WC for the post.

They were matched up against the Nashville Divers.. *cough* excuse me, Predators. i don't want to relive that series, so I'll just say that it didn't go so well for the Ducks, but we all know that. The season was over. The Boston Bruins went on to take the Vancouver Canucks in the SCF and won it all. Anaheim finally got rid of Andy Sutton(sorry that it didn't work out Andy, you screened our goalies too many times and couldn't make it as a forward). After the All-Star Game, Jonas Hiller had a really bad case of the Vertigo, no, not with Jimmy Stewart, and missed the rest of the season. Anaheim traded MacBackup for Dan Ellis and also brought in the netminder that they beat to win the Cup in '07, Ray Emery. That worked out well but it still didn't work out with the result that every hockey fan has for their team, which is to win Stanley's Hardware.

Then there was Corey Perry… what a beast!
Perry went onto win not only the Rocket Richard Trophy, but also won the coveted Hart Trophy for the 2010/2011 season. Selanne was another notable player who didn't even look a day over 30, while outplaying those who were way younger!

It was a better result than the 2009/2010 season, but still felt like a long summer, which is starting to come to an end. All the teams in the NHL will soon be getting together to start their training camp, and as of yesterday, the countdown to the first preseason game began: one month exactly! It was a great revelation as I celebrated my birthday.

So there you have it. I'm back. Time to wipe the dust off and get back into this here blog!

And as The Singing Cowboy once sung…

"I'm back in the saddle again."

Go Ducks!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Start of 2010-2011

And here we go...

And we begin the 2010-2011 NHL season, which so far, isn't so great. As of tonight the Ducks are 1-3-1 however, it's they are looking better than their first 3 games on the road to Detroit, Nashville, and St Louis. Those 3 were embarrassing to say the least but before all that nonsense, I flew back down to SoCal and attended training camp as well as 2 pre-season games.

It was fun being back home amongst my fellow Ducks supporters a
nd of course being back in the Pond. I met more great people, took some photos with a few players and hung out. I miss it so much.

My good friend Nick joined me for the first pre-season game against the Coyotes. Anaheim lost and I went alone to the 2nd one the following night against the Sharks, which we won. Both nights I was able to become a seat ninja and got to sit very close to the glass: 3 rows from in the 1st game and up against in the 2nd. Hey, it was pre-season and not many people where there, figured that I would help warm those cushions wait tushins!

So here we are now, 5 games into the season and the Ducks are 3 points in so many games. Getzy was named the Cap'n, which I was hoping it would be Koivu, he got the A along with Selanne. Like I said, the first 3 games were a disaster with Anaheim getting out played, out shot, out everything in each. The Ducks would get blanked out in Detroit(0 - 4), they would lose in Nashville the following night(1 - 4), and in St. Louis, it would be the same result(1-5).
Next would be opening night at home and knowing their record for winning home opener games, things weren't too optimistic.

The team that were visiting that night would be the Vancouver Canucks who are favoured to be the big Cup contender this year. Anaheim would score first but the Nucks would answer back quickly with 2 goals. Things started to get gloomy. Selanne would tie it up, however Vancouver would go-ahead. That's when the big RPG line would finally produce and answer back in fine fashion get two unanswered. Although it wasn't a pretty win, it was a win nonetheless, one that was needed. The team effort was there where in the first 3 games, it wasn't near anywhere.
Tonight, Atlanta was in town and they would get on the board first, literally. The first shot on goal was theirs and it was in the back of the net. Anaheim would answer on a PP goal from Perry. In the 2nd period, Anaheim would get two, one from dman Toni Lydman who made his debut after having double vision before the pre-season games started. Getzy would get the Ducks 4 goals to 2 over the Thrashers in the 3rd but Anaheim would fail on 2 PKs and Atlanta would tie it up, sending the game into OT and into the shootout where only one player would score, unfortunately it would be a Thrashers player. Anaheim lost 4 - 5 but not without showing better play yet not good of defense on the PK.

With that, my trip was great though I could say less for the start of the season.

And sadly, I won't be doing OOTP much for next two weeks being that things are happening in my personal life and I pretty much will be without a laptop and monitor for my other computer, thus begins a hiatus or rather "until I can write when I find a CPU with proper display". Same goes for the Ducks Vlogstrosity. However, I am hoping to be back in SoCal, living on Nov 3.

Until then, I wish everyone the best and as always + forever:

Go Ducks!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Seattle Meets Anaheim

Quick hit for today...

Being that I am currently living in the PNW and sans the Canucks, the only hockey teams in the area play in the WHL and that I get news regarding the Seattle Thunderbirds, I figured that I would share the email that I have just received.

It seems that a couple of T-Birds players will be attending NHL training camps. And one of those players will be at the Ducks camp starting on the 18th of this month.

Seattle defenseman, "Scott Ramsay left for the Anaheim Ducks Training Camp on Friday. Ramsay, a 19-year-old defenseman, is a free agent invite to the Ducks camp." That was the line that opened up my eyes up a bit. Ramsay was acquired by the T-Birds in a trade last season with the Chilliwack Bruins. He appeared in 64 games with the T-Birds and had a goal and three assists with 129 PIM.

I will be keeping my eyes open whilst at training camp for Ramsay. Hopefully he will be a promising player for Anaheim in the future.

Go Ducks!