Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hello? .500? Are you there?

[Flames do their best LA Kings "prison yard" impersonation by attempting to jump Kesler. Photo by G. Thomas]

14-15-6

In 35 games, that is where the Anaheim Ducks currently sit as they have yet to become a .500 hockey club in what has easily become the worst season so far since Bruce Boudreau replaced Randy Carlyle as their head coach.

Recent wins against the Philadelphia Flyers (4-2) and Calgary Flames (1-0) since the jolly holiday break have inched the team closer to hitting that even mark, and although a two-game win streak is nice, I'll wait a bit until I hold my breath. So far, the only thing the Ducks have made their fans certain of is their ability to be inconsistent. While they'll look as if steps forward are being taken, they haven't failed us into taking bigger steps back, and after their current two-win streak, some have reported that Anaheim are on the "verge of becoming NHL's most dangerous team". That's a cute thought, but for me, "on verge" isn't good enough until they can string more than 4 wins together and start playing above .500 hockey. 

Tonight, they'll have their chance when they play the Edmonton Oilers and continue their shot tomorrow against the Vancouver Canucks. They've had the pieces all season to do it, but unfortunately, they always prove to fall short when a big opportunity has been at their skates. Every ounce of faith that they can do it is there, but the real question is:

"Will they?"

We will see.

Go Ducks!

Friday, December 11, 2015

'Tis the season...

[Fowler: "Hey Corey, when was the last time we had a win streak this season?" Perry: "Ehh..." Photo by D. Robinson]

People! I've hit the big-time (if you wanna call it that)! Today, I make my debut for the beloved Battle of California! I'd like to share the post here on today's OOTP. So, if you love redundancy, you can read it on two separate sites! Merry Christmas, everyone! 

The holidays are a time for remembrance: the birth of baby Jesus, Pearl Harbor, Protestants accepting provisions from the native Americans prior to killing them...a joyous time, indeed! With the season upon us, I'd like to take time and remember another special event, "the last time the Anaheim Ducks had a winning streak". With the terrible start of this season followed by the inconsistency of the Ducks' final results game to game, the streak shall definitely live in infamy. Let us gaze back and remember what a wonderful/brief time it was. 

The four-game win streak would begin on November 1st against the child predator himself (Mike Ribiero) and his team from Nashville. Wins against the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Anaheim's foes from that hella crap town in the north (San Jose) would be a part of the streak. That is until finally ending on November 9 against the Arizona Coyotes in dramatic fashion where Ducks Cap'n Ryan Getzlaf decided to help out the Yotes winning in OT by displaying an amazing no-look pass behind him through his legs to opposing, yes, opposing Mikkel Boedker who then won the game on a breakaway goal. No amount of booze can erase that memory, I've tried. 

We bring ourselves back from the distant past and into the present where Anaheim are currently sitting on a lengthy two-game winning streak, and tonight, they'll look to extend it to three-games when the almost equally abysmal Carolina Hurricanes come into town. Tonight's game will also end Anaheim's six-game in 3 weeks homestand where the Ducks are currently 3-1-1. Can the Ducks extend the streak and continue to climb in a weak Pacific division? With tonight's match being the only game in 10 days, I hope so. If not, my liver is really going hate me.

Go Ducks!

Prediction:

A storm possibly brews in my stomach after filling it with In-N-Out and lots of beer*

*amount of beer depends on how well/crummy the game is


Inspirational Music:

With the folly of this season's Anaheim Ducks record, I give you one of the dumbest Christmas songs I have ever stumbled upon:


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wanted: Consistency

[Fowler: "Huh. Guys, maybe we should string some wins together?" Photo D. Robinson]

The Ducks ended November on a high note at home the other night when they blanked the Vancouver Canucks in a game that would see the final score of 4-0. November proved to be a better month than a crummy October, however, Anaheim have shown that they are being consistently...well..inconsistent. With each few steps they've taken forward, the team will then take a few big steps back. In my last post, they were on the road for 5 of 6 games. They beat the Canes (4-1), lost to Nashville the next night (2-3), won in Florida (3-1), were embarrassed by the Lightning (0-5), doused the Flames (5-3), and lost yet again to Phoenix (2-4). Anaheim went against Chicago in their annual Black Friday game at home, which the Ducks dominated the Hawks for a good 58 mins. But being that this years Ducks team is this years Ducks team, their 2-goal shutout lead was quickly erased when the team collapsed in the final 2 minutes by goals from Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith. To no surprise, Chicago won in OT with a final score of 2-3.

With December just underway, the first game for Anaheim will be tonight, and their visiting opponent will be the Lightning for their final match-up of the season. During the recent road trip, it was announced that Freddie was heavily under the weather due to the flu, and John Gibson was called up (who took over when starter Khudobin was pulled in the game against Calgary). Tonight will be his 4th start in row while Freddie continues to get to 100%. Gibson's done rather well, so there's no need to rush Mr. Andersen, but that doesn't mean that the face-palming asinine battle of Freddie v Gibby among Ducks fans has ceased. No, unfortunately, we still have to put up with it. Keeping either Freddie or Gibby won't be the answer to the Ducks problems. What they need to do is be consistent with winning, and now is the time to do so. The Black Friday game was the start of 6 games at home, and with the win against the Nucks, Anaheim are 1-0-1. They're still in a spot to have the ability of climbing up in a not-so-great Pacific division. If they can take advantage of this home-stand, then things will definitely be promising if not very good, but the task won't be easy. Anaheim were blanked by the Lightning just a couple of weeks ago, then their next opponents will be the Sharks and the Pens before finally playing the Canes in the final game at home prior to hitting the road for 4-games. Whatever they do, let's hope Anaheim continues to take steps forward and none back. 

Ducks on the mend:

It has been reported that Nate Thompson could make his season debut tonight who had shoulder surgery this past summer, and Jiri Sekac has been practicing with the team lately since he was injured in November from a sprained ankle. All signs point to Thompson playing tonight, Maroon will be the odd man out. It's still unseen as to who Sekac will replace, but we'll let the team worry about that. 

Go Ducks!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On the road (again)

[No clever caption. Just Ducks celebrating. Photo by G. Forwerck]

The Ducks have embarked on a road trip that will see them play the next 5-games out of 6 away from the Pond. Last night, they faced an equally struggling team: the Carolina Hurricanes. It would be a strong victory for the lads from Anaheim that saw goals scored by Horcoff (when the puck deflected off his skate and was ruled good because it was not kicked in), Vats (off a beautiful fake shot that Canes dman Ron Hainsey bought before Vats moved around him to wrist it by goaltender Eddie Lack), Swagelin-Hagelin (who scored on a wrap around when the puck hit the heel of Lacks stick that sent it through his 5-hole), and Getzlaf (finally scoring his first goal of the season on an empty net). Khudobin was the starter, and only conceded one goal. Final score: 4-1. Swags would have a strong bounce-back game earning the nights 1st star with 3 points from a goal and two assists. The Ducks definitely took advantage of Carolina's young blueline. 

Tonight, Anaheim will be on the second end of a back-to-back when they roll into Nashville to play the Predators who could be wearing their piss-yellow sweaters (thankfully, this will be the last match up of the season so parents won't have to hide their teenage daughters from Ribeiro...until next season). More than likely, it will be a goal tending duel of Frandersen versus Rinne. Before the Ducks departed Anaheim, news broke of call-ups from the San Diego Gulls. Forwards Nick Ritchie and Michael Sgarbossa joined the big team, and last night, Ritchie would get his NHL debut on a line with Kesler and Stewart registering 10:39 TOI with zeros across the board except for a few good hits. Ducks would also call-up dman Holzer to take place of Josh Manson due to having the flu, and as of this morning: dman Shea Theodore. With the players coming up from the A, Ducks had to place forward Chris Wagner on waivers before sending him down to the Gulls, a trip he never made. Colorado Avalanche swooped in taking him from the clutches of Barstool Bob which made a lot of Ducks fans moan and groan about poor team management and blah blah blah. Apparently, they didn't understand the rules. 

Hopefully, Anaheim can ride the momentum of last night's win and play a solid game. Sadly, I'll have to watch a replay later on tonight when I get home from work, but I'll definitely be listening. Priorities, people!

Go Ducks!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The good, the bad, but mostly good

[Perry: "The trick is to hit the side of the ketchup bottle!" Photo by D. Robinson]

Last night, the Ducks had a chance to bounce back from a very unfortunate OT loss in their prior game against the Coyotes. After giving up the lead in that game, players and coaches stated that they need to strive to hold leads and not blow them. That would not be the case against the Edmonton Oilers. Anaheim would blow the lead 3-times to where the Oilers forced OT (yet again) before winning the game. Final score: 3-4. Let's take a quick look into the negatives and positives of the team. 

Starting with "the bad":

The defense system. It's easy to say that so far this season, Kevin Bieksa hasn't been (for lack of a better description) that great. Dude's producing more turnovers than a baker in the defensive zone, and Lindolm has had a hard time staying on his skates. Hampus has definitely been doing better than KB, but when Stoner looks stronger than you, well, there's a problem. It has been noted that Bieksa's playing a lot of minutes, that might be because Despres is still injured, but Lawdy, I hope Simon gets healthy and returns soon! Maybe a good solution is to drop KB's playing minutes when SD returns. Another fugly side to the Ducks is that they have made me want to down a bottle of whiskey due to their poor play in 2nd periods which has been kind of a bad habit the past few seasons, and so far, they are 0-3 this year in 3v3 OT. But the odd part about their defensive play is that they're very good on the PK; they are 2nd in the league at 89.1% and have given up 7 goals in 48 attempts when they're down a man. If you don't think that's pretty damn good, then I suggest you seek professional help, but if you're not puzzled as all hell as to how they're down right abysmal defensively outside the PK, then I have no hope for you. For the past few seasons the defense has been questionable, and GM Barstool Bob has done his part to spackle the holes, but maybe the issue goes beyond the players. Maybe it's time to start looking at D-coach Trent Yawney who's system mirrors that of Randy Carlyle's which, let's face it, IS. NOT. WORKING. 

But I won't focus too much on the ugly, there are some bright spots with the team and their play, plus it's nice to save the best for last!

"The Good":

We'll start out with Corey Perry who, by Selanne's account, has opened up the ketchup bottle. Bounces are starting to go Perry's way which is a relief, and last night, he found the back of the net twice (even almost a third). His 2nd goal was the 300th of his career, and I'm sure there will be many more to come! Speaking of getting points, Stewart and Vatanen have been consistent on the scoring sheet. Many fans are speculating that Vats could be the odd man out when it comes to the trade deadline, but he's pleading his case to stay in a Ducks uniform. Stewart is finding his play back to how it used to be, he's positioning himself in that dirty area which is in front of the net, and he is also contributing. Josh Manson is proving that it was a good idea to have him up with the big boys this season. He's a big body who is also very mobile, he never backs down and will use his physicality when in need. He also has a wicked shot. Last night, he even had a really great chance on a breakaway - it's easy to say that his future looks bright. We also saw the return of Ducks forward and heartthrob to obsessive 16 year olds, Rickard Rakell, who was injured last week. It was good to see him back out there because so far this season, he's been one of the better players. He drew in on the top line as the left wing which isn't his natural position. As a center, he did not look out of place and was able to play his game which will be a good option for BB as the team moves forward. One must wonder if he'll stick on that line with the twins.

Another positive is that they are 4-0-2 in the last 6-games and are getting points, but that will only be good for a short amount of time especially against divisional teams, the Ducks need to start collecting that extra point after starting out in an early hole. 1 pt will only take you so far (see the Kings of last season), and we don't need the team to tire themselves out whilst trying to catch up towards the end of the season. Tomorrow, they'll face the New York Islanders before going out on the road for 4-games, they'll need to progress, win, and climb coming into Thanksgiving. They can definitely win the next 5-games, and the good must overcome the bad. It can happen, it must happen, I really don't want to stress eat this holiday season. 

Go Ducks!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The return of Cap'n Bonehead

[Getzy: "Hey fellas, wait up! I also get celebratory Twinkies & punch for helping you win, right?! Photo by H. How]

When it was reported that the great and wise Cap'n of the Anaheim Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf, had to have an emergency appendectomy, many were wondering if that was the reason his play so far this season was...well...non-existent. It had seemed as though the he had been missing since last years playoffs. Which takes us back to this past Friday when the Blue Jackets visited Anaheim and where I posted reports of the cap'n himself returning since his surgery. And return, he did. Getzlaf would be the #1 star of that game collecting 3 pts on 3 assists with a +/- of 1 in the Ducks 4-2 win. The following night on second end of a back-to-back in San Jose, he would register the loan assist after a beautiful stretch-pass to Corey Perry which lead to an equally solid goal that became the game winner against the Sharks. Final score: 1-0 (giving backup netminder, Khudobin the shutout). The Ducks would find their win streak at 4-games, and it appeared that the prodigal Cap'n had return.

Anaheim looked to take it to 5-games a couple of nights ago when the Phoenix Coyotes came rolling in from that great hockey market in the desert. The Ducks would take a commanding lead in the 1st period by netting 2 goals, but the Yotes would take advantage of that wonderfully solid Anaheim defensive system in the 2nd period by scoring 3-unanswered to take the lead. Things looked bleak for our lads until 11:43 in the 3rd period when Sami Vatanen tied the game after being the beast that he is by taking the puck from the Ducks side of the neutral zone into the Coyotes zone before passing it to Cogliano, who would then pass it back to Vats for a tip-in that sent the puck behind Yotes tender Lindback and into the net. Regulation would end at 3-3 which called for 3v3 overtime. Anaheim would have the momentum and almost all of the possession for the first minute and ten seconds in that extra session which looked promising. That was until...yeah, you guessed it:

Cue Ryan Getzlaf who in this case was played by none other than Cap'n Bonehead.

As the great and wise cap'n carried the puck through the neutral zone towards the offensive, he would show us that he has yet to learn from his mistakes of his drop-pass past by blindly sending the puck behind through his legs directly to Coyotes forward, Mikkel Boedker, causing a breakaway before squeezing said biscuit between Frandersen's skate and post to win the game. Social media immediately took to rightfully expressing their disgust with the all too familiar careless move by the cap'n; a move we've all witnessed before. Too many times has he blindly passed to the opposition before that very player cashed in on his mistake. What was really upsetting about this time around was the fact that the team had battled for that solo point only to have their efforts come apart by his dumb mistake. Yes, it was great that he got those 4 pts in the 2-games of his return, and yes, the bright side is that the team earned 9 out of 10 possible points in the last 5-games, but had it not been for Boneheads boneheaded move, they might have 10 out of 10. Tonight, the Ducks look to bounce back against the Ghost of Connor McDavids team - the Edmonton Oilers, but my question is this: will Getzlaf ever learn? I really don't know. Maybe he can have an emergency lobotomy so that he'll never drop pass to the other team ever again. Either way...

Go Ducks!

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Battle of the Bottom

[Perry: "But the top of the league is waaay up there..." Photo by H. How]

If anyone had mentioned to me before the beginning of this season that one of the Battle of the Bottom games would feature the Anaheim Ducks, I would have asked what kind of DC crack they were smoking before giving them a swift kick in the pants. With the expectations everyone had for the Ducks going into the start of the season, there was no way they'd be at the bottom - that place is always reserved for the likes of the Leafs, Oilers, Yotes, and Sabres...right? 

Alas, the harsh reality is that at the infant stages of this NHL season, they are just above the Leafs as the second worst team in the entire league. Hey, at least Toronto are doing their part as being at the bottom of the barrel! Right above the Ducks are the Columbus Blue Jackets, who just as well as Anaheim, had better expectations of being where they currently stand. The boys from 'Lumbus are coming off an entertaining 3-2 win from last night's game against the Los Angeles Criminals (which made me smile from Nick Foligno's re-arranging of Kyle Clifford's face). Anaheim are riding a lengthy 2-game win streak from Wednesday night's shootout victory that sent the Panthers packing to San Jose, the same game in which Corey Perry finally scored a goal by tying it up 5 seconds before it ended. 

Tonight, the two will be tested in their skills as the worst teams. And as I write this post, news has broke that Cap'n No-Hair looks to make his return from last season's Western Conference Final! Will Hampus have another terrible game? Will Hartnell stay on his skates? How many times will I face palm from watching the Ducks pathetically breakdown defensively? We shall see! It should be depressingly entertaining.

Go Ducks!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A new month...


October is a month known for ghouls, ghosts, witches, and all sorts of scary things. That being said, the Anaheim Ducks record for the beginning of the season would prove to be terrifying.  The team returned home this past weekend to end the devilish month from a terrible 5-game road trip in which they only earned 1-point from an OT loss in Chicago. The last team they faced on that road trip were the St. Louis Blues in a game that the Blues won from a goal off a very unlucky bounce, the final score would be 1-2 making the following days to come interesting. In the first ten games, the Ducks would have an abysmal record of 1-7-2 that nobody had predicted, and the reason why things would get interesting is because many would say that coach Bruce Boudreau's days behind the Anaheim bench were coming to an end. That was until GM Barstool Bob finally made a statement to the media after a Ducks practice at home where BB was still coaching the team. 

“I really don’t like commenting on rumors, but I will say this: We were one game away from the Final just five months ago. So while this has been a terrible start, I’m not inclined to make rash changes. I’m going to be patient. That said, we are severely underperforming as a group. I can’t recall a time where a vast majority of our players have underachieved simultaneously, and I fully expect a turnaround.”

Fortunately, no barstools were flung. Either way, that is not to say that someone and/or people are not on a short leash. Some are even suspecting that Barstool Bob is one of them, and I'm not one to be calling for the head of Boudreau. You can see that in the last couple of games on the road trip, the team were still playing for their coach, even when the clouds got heavier due to Cap'n Invisible himself (Getzlaf) having to come home for an emergency appendectomy in what the Cap'n stated was the sole cause of him playing like total crap...since last years playoffs. With Getzy out and things on edge, the teams first game in November would be against the Nashville Predators. The Preds easily took out Anaheim a week prior in Nashville, and it was time for all parents in Orange County to lock up their teenage daughters because Mike Ribeiro would be in town as well as a test for Anaheim - would the Ducks continue their losing ways or would they change things around? It was the latter.

The Ducks would score 3 goals in the 1st period (a goal in the first minute, two within twelve seconds of each other), and they would never look back. Which was good because the last two games on the road, the Ducks would score first then give up the lead. And although they would win the first game of the month at home 4-2, it was easy to spot the continuous defensive issues with the team along with certain players needing to improve or just plainly be shot out of a canon and into the sun (Maroon). The test continues tonight where Anaheim will take on Roberto Luongo's hair-do and the rest of the Florida Panthers who have done very well against the Ducks. Hopefully, there will be another number tacked inside the "W" column for our lads. If not, gotta think that the ice will thin more for some of the coaching staff. Oh, the suspense. 

Go Ducks!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sizzlin' hot seats in Anaheim

[Magnus: "Shea, ice not as comfy as Ikea." Weber: "Man, what's wrong with you guys??" photo J. Russell]

One of the main things I love about ordering fajitas at a good Mexican restaurant is the simple pleasure of hearing the sizzling sounds coming off of the very hot cast iron skillet. It lets me know that things are about to get real. Lately, rumors have been flying around that Anaheim Ducks coach, Bruce Boudreau, could possibly be in a cast iron skillet himself...except the skillet is his coaches seat. This is due to the bleak situation that the Ducks find themselves because of their abysmal start to this season. It appeared that maybe Anaheim were getting out of their funk when they soundly defeated the Wild almost a week ago at home, and as I wrote in my previous post, the lads were going to play 5 games on the road against 5 solid teams in the almighty central division. The first would be in Nashville where Anaheim were easily dispatched 5 goals to 1, and by the time the Ducks did put that one goal up on the board, it would be too little-to late. Khudobin would get the start being that he did win the last game, and although Anaheim played well in the first period, they just couldn't get anything past netminder and Finnish wall, Pekka Rinne. It would appear that the woes of Anaheim would still be there. 

With the hard reality of this not-so-great start and the loss on Thursday night, the majority of the Anaheim Ducks fanbase have started pressing the panic button. Even more so, some people are grabbing their pitchforks and torches calling for the head of Bruce Boudreau. Which brings me back to that sizzling hot seat, or rumors of him being on one. A broadcaster on Canada's own TSN even said one of the most absurd things which was that Anaheim could even fire Boudreau, but who did they suggest GM Bob Murray hire?

Randy Carlyle.

Really? Randy friggin' Carlyle? Now, let's stop and think about this: Randy Carlyle DID take Anaheim all the way where they became the first California team to win the Cup (you hearing me, Kings "fans"?), but he was fired because his system of "old-time" hockey no longer worked. Players stopped listening to him and they stopped playing for him. Today's NHL is about speedy forwards, good mobility amongst defensemen, puck possession, two-way hockey. Long gone are the days of the enforcer, and don't get me wrong, I think it's good to have a physical, stay-at-home defenseman, but they also need to be able to skate so that one could catch up to a breaking forward. The team that Barstool Bob has built this season is a faster one, much different from those who won the Cup, a team that's definitely not built for Carlyle's system (this was a coach who, in Toronto, scratched good forwards for bloody Colton Orr). Hey, while we're at it, how about we also do something insanely dumb like re-sign Sbisa and Sutton, or let's pull Penner out of his DJ booth! Maybe we can offer them Disneyland Annual Passes as incentives! Better yet, how about we just squash such rubbish ideas because if RC is back, I tweeted my prediction of what would probably happen:

["...in Anaheim" not "if". Dumb typo. PS follow me on Twitter]
In my opinion, I don't think that Boudreau is solely to blame for the problematic start. I feel that you also have to look at the team, you have to look at the leadership of Getzlaf. So far, in 6 games the "star" players such as Perry, Getzy, and Kesler have a combine 3 points. Getzy looks like he reverted back to his 2011/2012 self with his hum-drum lack luster play, Perry is not finding his spots, Hagelin and Stewart look lost, the power play is stupid, the expensive jumbotron doesn't work, the weather is still in the mid-80's and its almost the end of October...sorry...for a minute there, I lost myself. To sum it up, things aren't going the right way for the Ducks, and Boudreau is trying to do what he can to find a spark. Firing him for say, MacLean, won't be the answer. I don't even think a big trade will be the answer, either. This is something that the team have to figure out, and they must do it quickly because I have a gut feeling that if Anaheim don't win at least 3 games on this road trip, Barstool is going to shake things up. Or maybe my gut is just wanting some tasty-sizzling fajitas - I do love food. Either way, we'll see what happens today when the team play the Wild. It's gonna be tough. 

Go Ducks!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Liking this whole "win" thing


The air in the building was tense, it was easily felt. Then something odd happened: that little black circular thingy flew in mid-air off the stick of one Cam Fowler. It crossed the goal line into the back of the opposing teams net, then the entire place erupted. People suddenly screamed in unison, standing and cheering. Lights shining, fog horn...horning, and on the working sides of the jumbotron, the words "Goal" with the Ducks D logo were shown. Anaheim had finally scored their 2nd goal of the season, and it only took 173 minutes and 12 seconds of game play. They would go on to score 2 more and 1 on an empty towards the end of the game which the Ducks won 4-1. Anton Khudobin was given another starting shot for the game, and he would last the entire 60 minutes saving 34 out of 35 Minnesota Wild shots (Nino Neiderreiter would be the only Wild player to beat Dobby).

Anaheim ended their 4-game home stand with a record of 1-3-1 earning 3 points total in the standings, they now hit the road for their first real trip away from home this season. They'll face-off against 5 central division teams (including those evil ghoulish demons the NHL Blackhwaks) before returning back to Anaheim on November 1st - let's hope they get a lot of candy from tricks and/or treats. Today, the Ducks will play the all too ironic Nashville Predators. Ironic because they actually do have an alleged sexual child/nanny predator named Mike Ribeiro whom I've hated for a long, long time. The allegations of him being a kiddy fiddler just added to my existing hate. Let's just say that it's easy for me to want the Ducks to come out with a good win and maybe, juuuuuust maybe, a good ol' open ice hit on that Ribeiro bastard which would send him up into the rafters. Hey, one can wish!

Go Ducks!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What is this place?



Call it an oddity, call it backwards, call it plain crazy, but it appears that the Anaheim Ducks have traveled into another dimension. Be careful, you might find yourself trapped in a tesseract with Matthew McConaughey...

"stay"

Either that or Barstool Bob did in fact sell his soul to trade Bryan Allen & Sbisa, and now the Devil is collecting his due. Inside this 5th dimension we find that the Ducks have scored only 1 goal in 245 mins of game play (regulation and 3v3 OT), Anaheim were shut out in games 1,3, and 4. And boy, a lot of us have been scratching our heads wondering what in Sam Hell is going on. As the lads get ready to take on the Wild this evening, I for one am wondering if they'll score on the opposing team and come out with a win before they hit the road. I'm not panicking, but I'm a little concerned. With a poor start like this, you have some fans resorting to plain dumb nutball conspiracy theories. The best one I heard yesterday was that the team are purposely losing to get coach Kirby (Boudreau) fired... yes, that's right, "fired". To those people I say this: stand still while I throw my shoe as hard as I can at your head. Now repeat 2x's.

For me, it's not that they've lost and have started the season on a weird losing streak, but it's how they're losing. Game 3 at home against the Yotes, the Ducks were just stupid, and I don't mean that in a cool-hip modern slang way the rap kids are saying nowadays, no, I literally mean that I lost a high amount of whatever brain cells I have left watching that game...and I was sober! It was just atrocious as well as dumbfounding how this team did pretty well in the pre-season when it didn't matter. I didn't get to watch the game on Friday night against the Avs, in which the new orangey-orange 3rd jersey was "revealed" (we knew what it looked like months ago when leaked), but from what I heard in post-game reports, the team played a lot better. Yet, with all that, just 1 goal. That's what troubles me. 

The players have stated that they're pissed and at the same time positive this will pass, but as I've said before when hearing the same ol' repeated words stated by players over and over again, "just shut up and do it". Tonight, we'll get to see if they'll back up their mundane drivel out on the ice. Hopefully, they'll sew up whatever tear they made in the space time continuum and all will go on as normal. Until then, mind the wormhole. 

Go Ducks!

Injury rapport: in all this whacky mess, it was announce that Stoner and Depres have been placed on IR. Depres took a nice elbow to the head from Avs Dman, Tyson Barrie (which earned him a 3-game suspension), and Stoner probably got jumped by some bears. Thus placing Manson onto the ice with call-ups for SD Gulls Dmen Shea "Teddy" Theodore and Korbinianianianian Holzer (who probably won't get any ice time cause Holzer). Also, Anaheim had to send Chris Wagner through waivers in order to be sent down to SD. Dear Lawdy, please let him clear. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The new season


With the start of the season underway and 2 games in for Anaheim (who are also set to play their 3rd tonight at the Honda Center), the Ducks sit with a record of 0-1-1 earning only 1 standings point from Monday night's home opener shootout loss against the Canucks. Anaheim opened the season on the road in San Jose when they were blanked by the Sharks in a 0-2 loss. But hey, what kind of Ducks season would it be without losing the first game?? The Ducks started out this years campaign with a handful of new faces from trades and free agent signings. Clearly, the chemistry has yet to be instilled, but many pundits have chosen Anaheim to take it all this year. Anaheim added Carl Hagelin, Chris Stewart, Shaun Horcoff, Anton Khudobin, Kevin Bieksa, and Mike Santorelli to join their ranks. At the same time, we said goodbye to Palms, Beauch, Flash, Wiz, and my all-time favorite: Style & Grace aka The Invisible Man aka Emerson Etem.  

With the team re-tooled, the start of training camp showed that the boys would be determined to do some damage this season by displaying their typical all too motivational team motto that adorned on the backs of each players shirt. The motto was: "close is not good enough", after having been eliminated in an all too important game 7 against the villainous (see accused rapist Patrick Kane and his supportive team) NHL Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. So far, these past two games have shown us some promising play mixed in with bad habits (i.e. Getzy still doing boneheaded Getzy things). This years Ducks are definitely faster which Barstool Bob wanted to improved on in the offseason. Still in need of improvement is the PP which was the reason Anaheim's brass signed ex-Ottawa Senators coach and spot-on Wilford Brimley impersonator, Paul MacLean.   

Though, at this infant stage of the new season, it's still unseen if Oggi's still holds a curse on Anaheim's JMG sponsored PP as well as if the team can click enough to be the ones many have deemed to be this year champions of Lord Stanley's ultimate piece in his fine china, or will they come "close" once again? I for one am definitely looking forward to see what happens.   

Go Ducks!  

PS notable home season opener moments: animal rights activists protesting outside the HC due to Clayton Stoner hunting a beloved bear in Canada when he wasn't even on the Ducks roster. No, thankfully it wasn't Winnie the Pooh. The debut of Honda Center's new state of the art jumbotron along with a new sound system and the ability of projecting 3D image mapping onto the ice... which wasn't used for the opening ceremonies because apparently the Ducks love being lack luster when it comes to such things. Oh, and new boards/glass panels! It's the little things. 

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.

Hiller...

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!