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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ducks Gameday—Are you sure you want to simulate the rest of the season?

Anaheim Ducks (44-20-12, 3rd in west) at Chicago Blackhawks (27-39-9, t-14th in west)

Well, yesterday’s results certainly could have been better. Vancouver, Dallas, and San Jose all gained 2 points on the Ducks, and somehow the Wild managed 1 point without even scoring a goal. Again, Anaheim finds itself with all four of these teams sitting within 2 points of its precious 2nd-seed, and plays the only game in the west today to try to pad that cushion.

A quick glance at Anaheim’s remaining schedule shows that even though 5 of the last 6 games are on the road, 4 of those road games are against golf-buddies Chicago, Columbus x2, and St. Louis (plus one extra home game vs. the Sharks and one extra road game vs. the Stars). Sounds like a manageable season-end, right? Beat the bottom-feeders from the Central, and maybe split the matches against the playoff-bound Pacific, right?

But the Ducks, for about as long as I have followed them, have a weird pattern of playing well against better teams and then pissing away points against more beatable opposition (Phoenix excluded). For example, here’s how they’ve fared this year against the remaining competition:

vs. CBJ/CHI/STL: 4-2-2, .625 W%, 3.4 GF, 3.0 GA
vs. DAL/SJS: 9-4-1, .679 W%, 3.4 GF, 2.1 GA

Compare this to how the other 7 western playoff teams have performed:

vs. CBJ/CHI/STL: 68-20-10, .745 W%, 3.2 GF, 2.1 GA
vs. DAL/SJS: 25-23-4, .519 W%, 2.2 GF, 2.4 GA

The lesson? The Ducks have had an easier time beating the Sharks and Stars this season than the Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, and Blues, and if they intend on starting the playoffs at home, they had better get serious about reminding the latter set of teams why they are not going to be playing mid-April (hint: they’re beatable).

If there’s any bright side, though (as I noted in an email to PJ yesterday), the more the Ducks lose and the more the Sharks win, the bigger the April 4th game in Anaheim is going to be.

Prediction: Ducks 5, Hawks 2. Goals by Pahlsson (only 1 goal so far in 2007), Thornton (1 goal in 2007), Marchant (0 goals in 2007), May (0 goals in 2007, his last assist came against Anaheim), and Parros (0 goals in 2007, has not scored an NHL point since Jan. 21, 2006—431 days and counting).
[13:18 3rd Period--PARROS 1 (MAY, DIPENTA)
May gets an assist FOR Anaheim, and for Parros that's 431 days and OVER!]


wooster11 said...

I guess your reasoning behind your picks for Ducks goals is that "they're due..."

pete said...

if Corey Perry could have a 14-pt night my fantasy team would appreciate it. Maybe assist on all those numpty goals?

Earl Sleek said...

In terms of fantasy production, the Ducks already let me down last week to knock me out of Mirtle's playoffs (at the hand of Mr. Mirtle himself).

My team was awfully Duck-heavy, and it really hit hard that they only played two games last week instead of the four they got going this week.

But sure, I'll root extra hard for Perry tonight.

Steph said...

The Red Wings have a similar phenomenon going on - I've been trying to figure it out for years, but other than the obvious "they just underestimate" I've got nothing. We've got almost the same sort of end-season schedule too, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes for both teams.

James Mirtle said...

Earl - my goalie stats last week were four wins, 0.60 GAA and .978 sv %. No one was beating me.

And your team had fewer points than I had assists.

Just saying...

Earl Sleek said...

Oh fuck Mirtle, you beat me worse than I thought. I must not have checked it after the last day (I was drunk a lot last weekend).

But the thing about my team was, I had so many Ducks (Selanne, McDonald, Getzlaf, Penner, Thornton, Niedermayer, Pronger, Giguere) that even an extra game could have landed me a dozen points, if it went right. Catching them on a 2-game week (especially with the stinker at Phoenix) certainly sealed my fate.

(I did win the last week while getting creamed in goaltending--it's not unbeatable.)

And before anyone scolds me about eggs in one basket fantasy stuff, I know that it's a bad strategy but I just couldn't pass it up--so many Canadian/East Coasters in that draft that the California crowd was easy picking (also have had Kopitar, Frolov, Carle, Burke, Beauchemin, and Bernier on my team). My proudest feat, however, was even qualifying for the damn playoffs while playing Dan Cloutier every damn game he was eligible to play.

J.S. Giguere was just THAT good.

JavaGeek said...

It's funny, you go through all this work to show they've struggled against these teams and then you predict a win.

I think it basically comes down to being the best team in the league means you don't have to show up and you'll still win 60% of the time. Save your energy for the important games.

The other 7 teams need those wins, Anaheim doesn't (although now they do)

That said Anaheim doesn't appear to be the same team that was winning from October - December, not sure why though

Earl Sleek said...

That said Anaheim doesn't appear to be the same team that was winning from October - December, not sure why though

Reason 1: George Parros is no Todd Fedoruk. Aside from tonight's goal, Parros has been completely useless on the ice (between fights). It's not just that he doesn't score, but nobody with him can score either. Fedoruk, on the other hand, could play competently with Getzlaf and Perry (in the easy minutes), and Penner was then freed up to stabilize Marchant's line.

Reason 2: Marchant just got back from injury, and he's been missed as well. He helps spread the minutes, and is especially useful on the 2nd PK unit.

Reason 3: I don't really know why either.

wooster11 said...

Check that out. I guess Parros was actually due...