Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ducks Gameday—Two-for-one special, eh?

Thursday: Anaheim Ducks (11-0-4, 1st in west) at Vancouver Canucks (8-7-1, 7th in west)
Friday: Anaheim Ducks (12-0-4, 1st in west) at Calgary Flames (5-7-2, 11th in west)

The Ducks are off to Western Canada, to face Vancouver (the only Northwest Division team Anaheim has never faced in the postseason) and Calgary (who wishes that description applied to them). Edmonton was going to be on the road trip also, but Lauren Pronger wouldn’t hear of it.

Remember that earlier this week the 11-2 Dallas Stars tried their hand at this Vancouver-and-Calgary gauntlet, and came away with but 2 goals scored over 2 regulation losses. These are turning into pretty stingy places to play. (The Sharks, though, won in both buildings scoring a combined 10 goals in the process.)

And while it may appear on the surface that the Ducks don’t have much at stake in these games, here’s a few items to keep the boys interested.

For one, there’s this “record” that Anaheim is set to “break”—the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers began their season with a 15-game unbeaten streak (12-0-3), that the Ducks have asterisked their way into (with one OT loss). Whatever. I mean, who really cares about the consecutiveness of it all? Being an excellent team has very little to do with never losing; in fact it probably has a lot to do with how you respond to losing, which I await with strange eagerness.

Also, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have placed one Ducks bet this year, with Temujin, an agitator from West Coast Chaos, and it centers squarely around Ducks vs. Canucks. Nothing will get settled tonight, but whichever team gets the most points from the four regular-season matchups will determine the winner of one choice-of-the-internet t-shirt or hat or something.

But then again, that’s nothing like this bet. Luongo’s record, by the way, is 8-6.

Prediction: Anaheim 5, Vancouver 3. Giguere gets the win. Goals by O’Brien, O’Donnell, Oates, Ozolinsh, and Olausson.

---------------------------------------
And Calgary, well, they are a Bizarro-Edmonton. Whereas the Ducks acquired the Oilers’ best player this summer (improvement by addition), somehow Calgary managed to acquire Anaheim’s worst player, Jeff Friesen (improvement by subtraction). As I said at the time, there’s only one way to make peace with Mr. Freeze, to take a deep breath, and say as calmly as you can, “That’s OK, Jeff. Save it for game seven.” Friesen (who may be hurt), by the way, is my entry into Mike Chen’s “Crappy Player pool”, and his underwhelming one assist is propelling me to an early lead.

Of course, the larger issue in Calgary probably remains “revenge for Game Seven”, in which a young Russian shut out the punchless Flames and a young Frenchman took down a punchless Jarome Iginla, disrupting the postseason Battle of Alberta. Of course, then Edmonton took revenge on SJ to disrupt the first-ever postseason Battle of California, and I kind of forget what happened after that.

Prediction: Anaheim 4, Calgary 1. Bryzgalov (who has started each 2nd game of a back-to-back so far this year) re-stymies the Flames, while McDonald, Moen, Marchant, and Moran make Miikka mad.
---------------------------------------
Oh yeah, and tonight is round three of the Battle of California:
Round 1: in Anaheim, Ducks 4, Kings 3
Round 2: in L.A., Ducks 3, Kings 2 (SO)
Round 3: in L.A., Sharks at Kings
---------------------------------------
Side note: You know, I blabber on from time to time about the Oiler blogs, but really, there’s a lot to like in Canuckville also, from a variety of angles: Canucks Op Ed, Jes Gőlbez, Orland Kurtenblog, (my hero) Tom Benjamin, Waiting for Stanley, Canucks Hockey Blog, Stick in Rink, and the master of statistical magic, Hockey Numbers. (Read them now before they get despondent!)

For Cowtown, you have
Matt “the voice of reason” Fenwick, the boys at Hello Hockey Fans / Five Hole Fanatics, and double d(ion). (Go console them out of their despondency!)

14 comments:

zot said...

More alliteration, I see. :D

Tom Redonvin said...

My math puts your prediction for tonight at 3-2 Vancouver over the Ducks since goals from Oates, Ozolinsh and Olausson won't do much good for the Ducks.

Maybe that's just wishful thinking...

Temujin said...

What say I just buy you one of these and we forget about this silly little bet, m'kay?

It would save me the sheer embarrassment and frustration :-)

Earl Sleek said...

zot -- until it stops working, stay with it.

tom -- uh, did I mention that Bertuzzi gets a hat trick?

temujin -- you win the Canadian lottery or something? C'mon, Canucks can pull this off. Ducks are overrated.

MetroGnome said...

I can only hope the Ducks are as overconfident as you (and that maybe Pronger and Special Nieds are injured or sick for the game).

Temujin said...

It will certainly be a goaltenders duel tonight. The Canucks have been outshooting their opponents lately, but the the Ducks defense I don't think that will be the case this time. Even if they do, "Gigzgalov" has been dynamite in net and will be tough to beat. This may be the first game where Luongo will have to simply stand on his head for the Canucks to have a chance. He has been good so far, and shown flashes of brilliance, but tonight will be a real test.

Are you gonna be at this game? If you are be sure to bring a sign... maybe one that says "Sleek P3WNS Temujin" :)

Earl Sleek said...

Are you gonna be at this game?

It's in Vancouver, silly. Nah, I won't be making the trip.

I'm not going to be at a game until Tuesday the 21st--SJ frickin' Sharks, baby! A Row B treat!

The Canucks have been outshooting their opponents lately, but the the Ducks defense I don't think that will be the case this time.

Maybe. One kind of surprising thing is despite the defense, the shot count goes back and forth. We outshot the hell out of some teams, but other times opponents get the balance of play and we just get the goals.

Temujin said...

D'Oh! I thought the game was in Anaheim... the Canucks have been on the road so much it just seems natural.

Do you get tickets through your work, or are you a half-season ticket holder? Because those pictures you took from previous games are absolutely amazing. I've never been at a game and had such good seats.

Anonymous said...

you love this alliteration thing, don't you. you're good at it.

I'm jealous.

VeryProudofYa said...

As decisive as it was, it could easily have gotten far out of hand.

Especailly when you consider Kuni missing on his breakaway, Selanne getting his stick swatted by Sabourin while moving to tap it in, and putting Shawn Thornton out on the late game powerplay. A powerplay that turned into a two man advantage.

Hope they didn't use their scoring juice up tonight though, because they'll need all the ammo they can get if they hope to contend with the Friesen led Flames. ..yeah. But seriously, Kipper is rounding back into form, so it'll be interesting to hear if Carlyle tries some kind of novelty practice session before the game.

VeryProudofYa said...

And also, both Shawn and Scott Thornton have record at least a point tonight.

While Joe remains absent from the scoresheet with 10 minutes remaining in the Kings tilt.

Temujin said...

Oh gawd...

we're not counting the aggregate score, are we?

Earl Sleek said...

And also, both Shawn and Scott Thornton have record at least a point tonight. While Joe remains absent from the scoresheet with 10 minutes remaining in the Kings tilt.

Wow. Anaheim wins the Battle of the Thorntons for a night? Unreal.

we're not counting the aggregate score, are we?

Just as a tiebreaker. Heh Heh.

Do you get tickets through your work, or are you a half-season ticket holder? Because those pictures you took from previous games are absolutely amazing. I've never been at a game and had such good seats.

I buy through an old boss who's friends with a season ticketholder. I buy three games a year, plus get a preseason game as a throw-in.

Here's an early post about that.

Zanstorm said...

6-0..jeeziz. What a joke. We turned the game off half way through and played poker instead.