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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ducks Gameday—A face only a mother could love

Round Three, Game Two: (2) Anaheim Ducks at (1) Detroit Red Wings
(DET leads series 1-0, JavaGeek ‘odds’: DET 68%)

Anyone else inspired by Teemu Selanne’s playoff face lately? This notorious pretty-boy has not only been hit in the head by a puck from a Wild player (during pre-game warm-ups, no less!), but he’s picked up facial cuts from Wild sticks, Canuck sticks, and even Chris Pronger’s stick over the last few weeks. Certainly we’re seeing a more driven Selanne than in years past; no way you’d ever use “Teemu” and “battle-tested” in the same sentence a few years ago. And maybe the best part? He still seems to be loving it.

Teemu’s cut-up face is 80% inspiring and 20% hilarious, which I figure is about the right balance to encourage a series comeback tonight.

Other than the final score, I like the game the Ducks threw at the Wings in G1—they skated and anticipated well, pulled the crowd out of the game for stretches, and got pressure in front of Hasek. The Ducks really need to keep up that effort and discipline tonight, because Detroit will certainly be coming out better—the Wings are great at smelling blood and goin’ for the kill.

Special teams execution, of course, will be critical, as Detroit in G1 scored a pair of power play goals to the Ducks’ none, despite Anaheim owning the majority of power play time. It had been 15 games since Anaheim had its power play outscored by its opponent’s; over that stretch the Ducks had scored 17 power play goals and allowed only 3, amassing an 11-1-3 record. Anaheim needs to keep its power play ledger even-or-better if it hopes to pull a win out; that’s really its bread-and-butter.

(Sadly, Sammy Pahlsson’s penalty-killing streak came to a halt last game also. Fellow Swede Zetterberg became the first player to score a power-play goal with Pahlsson defending on the ice in nearly 8 weeks, spanning 20 games and 86:29 of penalty-killing time, including 3-on-5s.)

For a bit of added pressure, I’ll add this historical warning. In Anaheim’s playoff history, they are 8-0 in series where they win at least one of the first two games and 0-4 in series where they do not.

Prediction: Ducks 3, Red Wings 1. Perry, Pahlsson, and Pronger score the goals, while Teemu adds an assist and another playoff scar.

Happy Mother’s Day! Go Ducks.


Daniel said...

Teemu has a lot to prove, he needs to be better. Where does he go in the playoffs? Passing on the power play needs to get better to set up those one timers to slam in from the face off circle. We got the scores the same, powers of the internet...unite.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, if there's one place we can start getting critical of Teemu, it is the power play.

Reg. Season: 82 games, 25 PP goals, 23 PP assists

Playoffs: 11 games, 0 PP goals, 1 PP assist

I will allow for some slippage, as Minnesota and Vancouver were the two best PK teams in the regular season, but that excuse is over with now.

Beerme said...

Don't worry Ducks fans, if the one truly classy/skilled player you have doesn't deliver on the PP, I'm sure your "thugocracy" will pull a win out by injuring a key player or gouging Hasek's eyes out or something.

What I really hope to see is (insert thug name here) throw a blind-side check against Datsyuk on open ice, which Datsyuk anticipates, side-steps and comes in high and hard on Giguere, and scores!

That's gettin' Giggy wit' it!

Earl Sleek said...

Of course, if it comes from Anaheim, it must be 'thugocracy'. Then again, had it been from Detroit, it's just called 'Holmstrom heroism'.

Just your traditional Detroit doublespeak: if the Red Wings do it, it's 'doing the necessary things to win'. If the Ducks do it, it's 'thuggery and cheap play'.

ColBerdan said...

No no, it's more scientific than that. Just like democracy means "rule by the many" and aristocracy means "rule by the best", thugocracy simply means "Brian Burke is the team GM." Now, the degree to which any given team put together by Burke is inherently immoral is debatable, but noting that Anaheim is a thugocracy is simply observing a definitional characteristic.

Anonymous said...

this game is giving me acid reflux.

Earl Sleek said...

Whew! Well, as ugly as it worked out to be, I'll take it. Truth be told, the Ducks probably deserved a win in G1 more than G2, but as I said before, I'd rather have the win than the positives to take away.

That Maltby shorthanded goal nearly killed the Ducks--did the power play look good even once after that? They had better improve on getting their PP working; it had no confidence at all in the last 40 minutes.

Next stop: Anaheim, for a best-of-five. Kudos to the checking line, which has been on the ice for all three OT winners this spring.

Beerme said...

Ducks played a much more disciplined game and the Wings a much more spirited game. Though the Wings stole one they probably shouldn't in Game One, they probably should have won Game Two. Three goals just didn't prove to be enough this time.

Still, given the better game calling of the officials in this game, I'll pick the Wings over the Ducks most of the time. Special teams play continues to be excellent for the Wings but unsuccessful for the Ducks.

I would like to see some even strength goals, though. This promises to be a great series!

Earl Sleek said...

beerme, that was the most gracious and mature comment any Detroit fan has left on this site in the last week or so: Congrats!

And yes, it is building to be a great series!

Rick said...

I am surprised a Detroit guy thought that was good officiating. I was embarassed about some of the calls the Ducks got.

But despite playing the game in college, skating since I was 3, and watching the game now for almost 25 years, I cannot tell you how penalties are called.

Holmstrom is a propaganda job. He goes and puts his stick on a goalie's neck and a goal is scored, and, well, that's just good old going to the net.

I don't know what the refs do, but the media does apply a pro-Detroit double standard on some of these table setting issues, like the Ducks are "mean."

Please. They have Todd f9&*#$ Bertuzzi. QED.

P.S. I called it. G1 to Det, G2 to Ana.

hockeychic said...

Earl - as a Wings fan, I agree with you. Ducks should have won G1 and Wings should have won G2 but that's how it goes. I am interested to see what happens in G3.

Wings need to score 5 on 5.

Earl Sleek said...

But despite playing the game in college, skating since I was 3, and watching the game now for almost 25 years, I cannot tell you how penalties are called.

As far as I can tell, they are called with this logic:

1. Was there an infraction?
2. Does it absolutely need to be called or is there some leeway?
3. What's the current score? Does a team need a power play to even-up?
4. How many penalties have I called already? Do I need to even-up the power play chances?
5. Has one team already scored too many power play goals? Don't want them to get too carried away.
6. Where am I? Will I be upsetting the home fans?

Of course, this changes ref-to-ref, but overall this is how I think penalties generally get called, at least for most of the last two years (since the 'crackdown').

It's kind of inevitable, really, as referees have two major objectives that are conflicting: (1) Crack down and call more chintzy penalties, while (2) trying not to "decide" games. Ideally for a ref, he'd like to call only award penalties to trailing teams, as it causes less referee-induced "blowouts".

But I re-emphasize: this has been going on for two years now. There's little point in deciding today is the day to get outraged about it (especially when it affects your team).

If you want a solution, it either is to go back to old standards, or to overtly express to referees that we do want them to decide games. Then they can call everything in the book without worrying about appearances of partiality. Incidentally, I would prefer the former over the latter. I think a game with zero tolerance would be choppy, slow, and unexciting, and probably diving would get worse than ever. Coaches would probably also further de-emphasize 5-on-5 scoring; more 5-on-5 play would be designed I think towards drawing calls than actually trying to put the puck in the net.

Daniel said...

I think in the playoffs they should let the players decide the outcome even more. Blatant tripping, hooking or other obstruction calls should always be called. Same thing about diving, if you dive, even it up or just call the diver. Anyone who has played the game knows a one handed poke or even a decent slash to the outside of your leg while you are turning doesn't bring you down and these guys are all powerful skaters.

The whole adage of putting the whistle away late in games and in overtime should be the standard. Maul guys in front of the net, roughing in the corners. It's when they trip a guy going after a puck that squirts free in the corner, call that.

WestCoast Ray said...

"For a bit of added pressure, I’ll add this historical warning. In Anaheim’s playoff history, they are 8-0 in series where they win at least one of the first two games and 0-4 in series where they do not."

Interesting stat. Things are looking up! Can't wait for Tuesday. See you at the Ponda!

Sherry said...

Re: Teemu's playoff face.

I think I literally "gah!"ed when he appeared when viewing this video.

RudyKelly said...

I don't think there's an inherent logic to penalty calling for a referee, they see a play and either call a penalty or don't. I'm not sure if they can process the score and the amount of calls they've already made and the amount of power play goals scored in a split second.

I actually haven't been to outraged by the penalty calling in this series so far, but I've been watching playoff basketball and that may be making the NHL refs look good by comparison. Imagine if some of those Europeans went into hockey instead of basketball; Don Cherry probably would have bombed the place by now.

Earl Sleek said...

I'm not sure if they can process the score and the amount of calls they've already made and the amount of power play goals scored in a split second.

You're right, but that's not really what I'm suggesting. I think before they see a play, they know which team is on the short leash already.

And of course, this does not apply to all penalties. There are blatant ones that do need to be called each and every time. But when it comes to somewhat marginal calls, I do think politics of officiating comes into play--there's just too many phantom calls and missed calls for me to think otherwise.

Earl Sleek said...

News break: Chris Kunitz had surgery on his hand today and is out for the playoffs.


Anonymous said...

no, nota a face only a mother could love. We all still love it...

Julian said...

From the OC Register:
After scoring the lone Ducks goal in Friday night’s 2-1 loss in the series opener in Detroit, Kunitz suffered the injury late in the third period when he attempted to deflect a slap shot by teammate Chris Pronger. The puck struck Kunitz in the knuckle area above his middle finger, resulting in the fracture.

First the Selanne high stick, now this! Someone tell Prongre everyone on the Ducks is plenty playoff tough already! Pretty soon he's gonna be alone out there.