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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ducks Gameday—The Campbell Bowl is in the house tonight!

Round Three, Game Six: (1) Detroit Red Wings at (2) Anaheim Ducks
(ANA leads series 3-2, JavaGeek ‘odds’: ANA 75%)

I don't want to seem overconfident about the Ducks' chances tonight, because quite frankly, I'm not sure what to expect out of either team in G6—the Wings are facing their first legitimate 'must-win' game of the season, while the Ducks certainly do not want to return to Detroit. Each game in this series has, in its own way, been somewhat of a surprise, but the fact remains: if the Ducks win at Honda Center tonight then they win the west.

A lesson from the past—May 16, 2003, courtesy of USA Today:

When the Ducks finished a four-game sweep of the Minnesota Wild on Friday to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in their 10-year history, Kariya, the captain, was called to center ice to pose for a picture with the Clarence Campbell Bowl, given to the Western Conference champion.

He stood stone-faced for the picture. Then, he refused to touch the trophy. Kariya's message: We haven't won anything yet.

The only reason he posed with the trophy at all, he said, "was because I figured I'd get fined if I didn't."
In 2003, the 7th-seeded Mighty Ducks had swept the defending cup champion Red Wings, defeated the top seed Dallas in six games, and allowed only one goal to the Wild in another sweep. Their first nine victories were all by one goal, including five in overtime, and all this despite starting each series on the road.

But when presented a trophy celebrating those achievements in front of his home fans, Kariya refused to acknowledge it. Yes, I know he was sticking with tradition and superstition, but it turns out that would be the last hardware that Duck fans could cheer for at the Pond that spring—ignoring the Campbell Bowl didn’t win them the ultimate prize, instead they treated a western conference title as a paltry occurrence rather than the playoff miracle that it was.

Kariya and the '03 Mighty Ducks are hardly unique in their trophy avoidance; teams have been shunning the Campbell Bowl with regularity (and lately, with no success). Kind of a shame, really, as only one team wins the prize each year for winning a really tough western conference—it would be nice if it could be a cause for celebration instead of the usual cold shoulder approach.

So here's my theory: if the Ducks win G6 at Honda Center (by no means a given), Scott Niedermayer should go up and lift the Bowl over his head. Carry it around a lap. Pass it on to Teemu. Basically, Scott should act as if winning the west matters—that it's an achievement worth celebrating.

The crowd would go nuts. The TV cameras would love it. Maybe there will be an ultimate celebration later for the home crowd; maybe there won't be. But at least there won't be regret in thinking back at the time when the team could have celebrated with its fans but didn't.

So if the Ducks win tonight and are presented with the Clarence Campbell Bowl: lift it, touch it, or ignore it? You can shoot down my theory in the comments.

Prediction: Ducks 3, Red Wings 1. Goals by Perry, Pahlsson, and Getzlaf.

Go Ducks.

p.s. J.S. Giguere's OT record now is 12-1. He has allowed one goal (Jeff Cowan) on 115 overtime shots in more than 250 minutes of playing time (more than four regulations). That translates to an 0.24 GAA and a .991 sv%. Way to go Jiggy!

14 comments:

RudyKelly said...

Hey, did you guys notice that Hockey's Future said that the Kings had the best farm system in the league? See... that almost makes up for not making the playoffs for the past 3 years... Oh God! (*sobs)

Earl Sleek said...

Nice, RK. I'm not very good at following that stuff, but I know the Ducks were at the top of that list not so long ago (back when Perry and Getzlaf were still 'prospects'). It's an important step to re-achieving success in this league, though Lombardi better play it smart with his free-agent fill-ins.

In other words, no more Cloutiers.

B_Washington said...

I always thought being awarded the conference championship is, by definition, destined to be a weird experience.

I mean it's a nice award and it is a significant accomplishment, but it's not what you're playing for. So while it is worthy of recognition, it's not really worthy of getting too worked up about, because the climax is yet to come.

I think the award can't be a trophy, it has to be something unique so it isn't competing with the Stanley cup. Maybe the conference champion should get their logo behind each of their conference brethren's net the following season.

Could you imagine how angry I, as an Avs fan, would be if I had to see that putrid winged wheel behind Budaj every game next season? See that would be soemthing worth playing for.

Daniel said...

You know what is funny about this award and representing your conference? After a team closes out the conference finals, they jump up and cheer and get all excited, like a little kid would when he is happy. Then when it is trophy time, it's back to business and they are MEN. Earl is right about being happy to win, I am not sure about skating around with it, that would be up to captain really. Kariya is Canadian, so hockey.

As for a farm system, how can the Ducks not be rated #1, we have Motzko!

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I'm not sure myself about the skating around part (I wrote this really late last night), but I think the point I wanted to emphasize is that I don't get why the presentation of the trophy needs to necessarily be a buzzkill.

Like Teemu said after G5, enjoy the thing for 10 minutes, and let the fans have a glorious moment.

Playing it ultracool and ignoring the trophy hasn't done very much for the western conference champs lately, so I'm not terrified of curses and I'm definitely not concerned about the team losing sight of the big prize.

RudyKelly said...

On topic with the post, I think the team should be allowed to do whatever they like. They won the trophy, so if they want to be happy, then that's cool. If they want to take the moment to remind themselves that they're not done yet, that's cool too. I agree with you, Ed; I doubt that there's one correct way.

I remember that when the Kings won they celebrated like crazy, but that was a huge achievement after what they had gone through that season. I say, go nuts, Ducks. But I don't think you'll have cause to, because I kind of hope Detroit comes back and wins. Nothing personal, but I have a constituency to represent.

Rick said...

I wish they would.

Part of the problem, a problem the NHL's napoleon complex won't let them acknowledge, is that there are too many teams that never win anything.

Consider European soccer. There are tons of trophies, both within each country and continent wide.

Sure, the Stanley Cup is the big one, but why is it no big deal to win the President's Trophy? In England, if a team wins the cup and the premiership regular season they get to brag about "doing the double."

(They even sometimes say that if an MLS team wins MLS Cup and the US Open Cup.)

Hockey needs more tournaments, more team hardware, and more respect for the different kinds of excellence. Individually, there's more than just the MVP or the scoring championship--there's the best defensive forward award!!!

Best of 7 series are the best entertainment, but they don't always reward the team that's best in every way.

So, for my part, I'd like to see more kudos to the team that wins the President's trophy and the teams that win their divisions.

As for the Campbell and Wales Trophies... that's different, because it's a sub-award of a different tournament.

I hope Scott wizzes init.

zot said...

Did you know that you have some repeats on the hockey links sidebar? Just thought you should know. :)
P.S. Go Ducks!

Earl Sleek said...

Thanks, zot, I must have gotten too excited when I got rid of the Canucks links and put them back in the regular sidebar.

One hour until gametime!

Zanstorm said...

Well, you've got 2 of the Ducks scorers correct so far!!! Nice work!
Wings look pathetic tonight, and that..is a good thing.

Sherry said...

Scott Niedermayer should go up and lift the Bowl over his head.

I think Trevor Linden did it one time. And the top fell off.

So it's 3-0 now for the Ducks in the third. It looks like our team is going to have a date on Monday. I might be in Cali early June. Should I pre-order now or am I okay the day of. It'll be a lot cheaper than selling my organs for tickets in Ottawa.

grace said...

Pahlsson scores! 3/3 + 1!

Objectionable Conduct said...

I have mad Getzy and Pears luv. And I want a party in the VAG. So whatever Neids does with the trophy it better result in me getting a party with Kuni, Getzy, the Stanley Cup and the good ole VAG.

(The VAG is aka Regina, Saskatchewan for those of you who don't know that the Canadian pronounciation of Regina rhymes with FUN)

Alexander Dubcek said...

Well, now you're screwed. Niedermayer avoided the Campbell Trophy just as assiduously as Kariya did four years ago.

By contrast, Scott Stevens had no qualms about accepting the Wales Trophy four years ago, nor did Daniel Alfredsson last week.

Plus, seeing the way the arena reacted to the final horn (what the hell was up with the streamers and balloons? you didn't win the Cup), I think karma can't be with the Ducks.