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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ANA / VAN first look: Finishing off the Northwest Loop

Isn’t hockey a funny sport? First, after the lockout, the NHL decides to foster its divisional rivalries by having the Ducks play its Pacific rivals 8 times a year. Yet somehow, through the magic of actual rivalries (read: playoffs), the Ducks have gone and decided to get busy with the Northwest Division instead.

Over the last two playoffs, the Ducks will now have played all five NW teams in succession:

2006 Round 1: Calgary Flames
2006 Round 2: Colorado Avalanche
2006 Round 3: Edmonton Oilers
2007 Round 1: Minnesota Wild
2007 Round 2: Vancouver Canucks
That will mean that by the end of this series the Ducks will have played 25 - 28 consecutive playoff games against the Northwest—take THAT, Overlord Bettman!

From my offseason mascot cartoon series, here again is that Northwest Division:


From left to right: The Edmonton Oilcan, the Vancouver OrCanuck, the Calgary Flame, the Colorado AvalanchYeti, and the (ouch!) Minny Wild.

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Now on paper, this is an awesome match-up for Anaheim—the Ducks went 3-0-1 against VAN, outscoring them 14-6. But a lot of that was back in November, and I’m certainly not someone who needs reminding about what hot goaltending can do to a playoff series.

Should I start the goaltending controversy in Vancouver, though? Here’s how the VAN netminders fared in their games against Anaheim this season:
Roberto Luongo: 0-3-0, 3.78 GAA, .857 sv%
Danny Sabourin: 1-0-0, 3.13 GAA, .914 sv%
(Hey Vigneault, why not go with the numbers on this one?)
And just for effect:
J.S. Giguere: 3-0-1, 1.50 GAA, .941 sv%
And maybe that’s the thing that’s scary about this match-up: things are looking a little too convenient, a little too easy. Home ice advantage? Check. More rested than the opposition? Check. A team that we dominated in the regular season (and won me a t-shirt)? Check. A goalie who couldn't beat us all year? Check.

My spidey sense is definitely tingling on this one. More to come later; for now—Go Ducks.

13 comments:

PPP said...

The Ducks better not mess this up. The Canucks are basically just Luongo. The Twins were invisible in games 2-6 and only did anything in game 7 because of the ref's help.

I hope the Ducks do Canada a favour and wipe the Canucks out in 4.

Temujin said...

Geez, PPP, you are even spreading your sh*t here! Hehehe

Bring it on, Sleek. Bring. It. On.

Surely a friendly wager must be made!

Hodge said...

Check the stats on teams who sit around waiting for the next series to start. The Nucks in 6, Ducks won't be able to handle Trevor fucking Linden...

Jeff said...

Anyone have some insider knowledge on how to get from LA-Anaheim in rush hour traffic? ;)

Zanstorm said...

Fly

Earl Sleek said...

Jeff,

I left you a note on driving at Canucks and Beyond, but if you want to discuss it further, e-mail me at earlsleek@gmail.com.

Kevin said...

@ hodge, re days off, from the OC Register:

"The last seven Stanley Cup champions had at least one series where they won in five games or fewer. And among those that had a significant break in between series are the New Jersey Devils' title-winning teams of 2000 and 2003, of which [Scott] Niedermayer was a member."

janet said...

A suggestion for getting to ANA from LA, especially if you can take the carpool lanes: take the 405S to 91 E (will be surface streets for a while before turning into fwy) to 5S. The carpool lane on the 91E connects directly to the carpool lane for the 5S. There is some construction going on with the carpool lane on the 91, so it disappears for a bit, but it comes back. Exit Katella, turn R to head towards the Pond. Make a L on State College, R on Cerritos which curves into Douglass and take the back route.

I think it partly depends on where you're coming from in LA. My friend and I will usually leave West LA (by UCLA) around 4:15/4:30 and will get to HC around 6 using this route. We also avoid getting on the 405 until we get south of the 10.

good luck!

PS. great job with this blog! Earl - love the cartoons.

Earl Sleek said...

Janet, that was nearly my advice (and might be the way I'm actually driving tomorrow, albeit leaving much earlier than 5:30), but I shied off of it.

The carpool lane on the 91E connects directly to the carpool lane for the 5S.

This is the best part of your route, a real plus, never having to leave the carpool lanes to switch freeways.

There is some construction going on with the carpool lane on the 91, so it disappears for a bit, but it comes back.

This is the part, though, that made me choose otherwise. That portion of the carpoolless-91 (which is pretty damn long) can be murder, especially at peak hours. It's an already-packed freeway getting crammed even further and staying crammed for a long time.

That said, I could endorse this route as well, but be prepared to hate the 91, as every red-blooded eastbound commuter should. How long has that construction been going on, 18 months?!

PS. great job with this blog! Earl - love the cartoons.

Thanks, love the compliments.

Jeff said...

Janet and Earl,

Thanks for the tips. I convinced my wife to let me leave earlier with a friend and meet her there. So I'll leave LA probably around 5, and hopefully make it for puck drop.

Scott said...

I am bringing contingent of Vancouverites to the game as well, however we are all transplants to the South Bay now. Although we may cheer for the Kings and Ducks on occasion (against other american teams) the Canucks colors will be in full force for this one!
GO CANUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

LA to ANA?

take a helicopter. :)

J.R. Hippe said...

Oil fan here putting the Christie Prongley differences aside for the good of the Cansucks losing. Go Ducks! Quick and painful please.