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

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Perfectitude: Thoughts from the morning after

I don’t want to sound too trite here, but seriously. It doesn’t even feel like the season has ended—doesn’t it always end in a loss?

Some bullets, because my head is pretty much everywhere this morning:

  • Full disclosure: I totally cried last night when they showed Teemu’s tears. Sure, I was drunk, but it really struck me how much I love the guy, who showboated and popularized the Mighty Ducks for many years (including my formative years as a hockey fan). Finally, this year, he went ahead and took it a step further, and bled for the Ducks. If you ask me who I’m happiest for this morning, it’s Teemu by a longshot. Sure, others were way more important in winning the games, but Selanne got me hooked on the Ducks, and it’s awesome that he was able to deliver its first Cup / his first Cup in front of the home crowd. I’m totally going to name my daughter Teemu.

  • Looking back, it’s tough to think how well the Ducks dominated some really strong competition. Arguably facing the best four regular-season teams since Christmas, the Ducks dispatched three teams in five games and Detroit (the only team that had home ice against Anaheim) in six. The Red Wings certainly gave the Ducks a battle, but really, the team that I thought was best-built to beat the Ducks got knocked out in the 2nd round again. Next year we finally going to have this Battle, Sharks?

  • As for my current man-crush, Sammy Pahlsson played a whale of a game again last night, picking up an assist and a +3, to boot. Of course it wasn’t enough, as Scotty (my second choice) won his first Conn Smythe. People have been asking me how pissed I am, that Sammy, despite being worthy of both a Smythe and a Selke, is likely to win neither trophy (the Selke votes were in before he got noticed by eastern voters in the playoffs). I tell you the truth—I’m not pissed at all. I’d rather have the trophy-worthy performances than the trophy any day of the week, and really, my hope is that Sammy never leaves Anaheim. He signed a two year extension already this season, but when that runs out, it’ll be easier to re-sign a guy who’s got one less Selke and one less Smythe than he probably deserves.

  • There is a worthwhile saying in hockey: “You have to lose before you can win” (or some variation on that), and it certainly proved true for the players and the team. Six players had been to a G7 of a SC Finals and lost, and to watch them carry the cup around after bitter teases earlier in their career was thoroughly enjoyable. From a fan’s perspective, too, I think this adage holds true. I recall very strongly the bitterness that followed the team’s heartbreaking G7 loss in 2003, but this year I’ve gained some perspective on that. Had the Mighty Ducks won that cup, would this team have ever gone for Scott Niedermayer? For Chris Pronger? Or would I be cursing the lackluster postseason play of Paul Kariya right now? It’s really hard to see at the time where losing gets you, but I can certainly say that blown opportunities in ’03 and last year have really made last night all the more special for me and other Duck fans.

  • Well, as strange as it is not to end a season with a loss, offseason work will begin soon enough for the Ducks (probably after the rally on Saturday). Really, there are three critical questions: 1. Will Teemu retire, or will the thrill of defending the Cup lure him back? 2. Will Giguere re-sign with the Ducks, or will he hit a huge payday with another squad? 3. Has Chris Pronger requested a trade yet? I figure on the last issue, we have about a two-week window until we can breathe easy, so as I’ve been saying at the end of a lot of close games this postseason: GO CLOCK GO!
All kidding aside, it's really tough for me to tell you what this means personally. I know not everyone gets to see their team win it all, and very few get to see their team win it all for the first time. Sincerely, I hope everyone gets this chance, no matter the size of their fanbase. I mean, I guess I always thought that there was a Cup somewhere in the future for the team, but the fact that it's now happened? Well, to reiterate the most-used word last night: Unbelievable.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a Leafs fan, watching this game on TV last night. It occurs to me, when it's 5-2 with 12 minutes left, that Anaheim fans are supremely lucky.

Winning a Cup is awesome. Winning it at home is even more fun.

But to have an insurmoutable 3-goal lead with a period to go in the deciding game? MOst teams win a cup on a late goal which causes the explosion of joy. Others win it by defending a 1-goal lead throughout the game, and only in the final 10 seconds does the joy come flooding out.

But to have a 20-minute stretch where you can stand up and cheer, watch the boys tick down the clock, and just know you're going to win the Stanley freaking Cup?

Wow. I was choking up just thinking about it. Felt good for Teemu and Rob Nied, too.

Congrats sleek. Enjoy the feeling. I've never had it.

Now gimme your goalie :)

grace said...

Thank you, Sleek, for a wonderful season.

Bryan said...

I only count 4 players who were on the Ducks in 03. No matter. Well said. The Ducks of 03 felt different from this team. I remember in the Detroit series, we had never even won a playoff game against them, I was wanted to see how far we could go. And even after that series, we still had to get through a tough Dallas team and it was really only then that I thought wow, we got a real shot. This year, from the way the season started, we seemed destined. The team always had that swagger, that confidence that teams like Detroit, Colorado and NJ had when they won. This was a truly special season.

Selanne still has a lot of gas left, retiring after a near 50 goal season, I hope not. Giguere will resign for alot. With the cap likely going up 8mil lots of players will be getting big paydays, Ducks will make that a priority. Pronger won't leave. California and a Cup will do that to a guy.

Earl Sleek said...

I only count 4 players who were on the Ducks in 03.

And I'm only counting three of them. This was a global list, as Scott Niedermayer and Sean O'Donnell lost a G7 in 2001, J.S. Giguere, Sammy Pahlsson, and Rob Niedermayer lost a G7 in 2003, and Chris Pronger lost a G7 last year.

These players were all huge in the cup finals--they weren't going to waste any opportunity this time.

Kevin said...

Not my daughter, but I did name my dog Teemu, and I was hoping he'd see his namesake raise the Cup in his doggie lifetime (he's 10 1/2 now).

I will have to say that Teemu the dog didn't show near the emotion Teemu the hockey player showed last night. I don't think I did a very good job of explaining the signifcance to him...

Bryan said...

Well I was counting McDonald as a 4th though he didnt play in the playoffs. He did have enough reg season games to get his name on the cup if they had won.

Also, Alfredson's pass to Perry for the dagger through the heart goal was pretty priceless.

Jeff said...

congrats sleek.

Bethany said...

Congrats Earl you guys deserve this.

Julian said...

I'm with you, Sleek. I was absolutely thrilled to see Selanne win. He's a favorite since he started playing for Anaheim.

Congrats to the blogging community for a fantastic year as well. It's so nice to be in such a big hockey family - even when we argue.

Julian/Limey

Julian said...

By the way, does anyone know who won Mirtle's contest?

Earl Sleek said...

I don't know, I didn't enter.

Although I would have been kicking myself if Pahlsson did take the Smythe, because I remember nobody selected him and that clearly would have been my pick.

Ted said...

I'm happy for you and the Ducks fans. Hopefully this will have a positive effect on Cal hockey. I enjoyed your blog, even as a Sharks fan, but Dude, please don't name your daughter Teemu unless her middle name is going to be "the Diver".

P.S. and yes Pahlsson is da bomb

Earl Sleek said...

Dude, please don't name your daughter Teemu unless her middle name is going to be "the Diver".

Suggestion noted. Though I was leaning a bit more towards a middle name of "Illegal Stickblade".

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julian said...

I dunno, Sleek, wouldn't you have to name her Marty for that to apply?

Don't tell Rudy I said that...

walkinvisible said...

dude, i don't know you, but i love your blog and i'm all for naming your daughter teemu. infact, since i'm probably the only chick that would allow it, i guess we're destined... ;) teemu mattias it is (forsberg's middle name)... has a nice ring to it, actually, though sounds like a boy's name... but i bet she'd be the toughest girl on the block...

huge congrats, man. i only vaguely remember '89. but know it was so effin' good....
x

Jordi said...

There was a game!?

Congratulations, hey I don't feel angry or sad about it!

Bryan said...

Go Ducks

initself said...

I want to see more emotion from you, Sleek!

Temujin said...

I love how Scott passed the cup to Rob.

Do you even remember the phone call from last night? Muahaha!

Earl Sleek said...

I want to see more emotion from you, Sleek!

Is that to mean you want more tears out of me, or you want me to go on some "fuck you other 29 loser teams" tirade, because I phase in and out of those moods quite a bit lately.

Do you even remember the phone call from last night?

I remember there was a call. Did I thank you for the lucky shirt?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you name your daughter "Samantha" or "Sami" instead?

Rick said...

My guess is that the increased season ticket sales and playoff revenue will boost the Samueli's payroll limit and will give the team money to resign Giguere. That Swiss dude will be the new backup, and Tampa's first rounder and Bryz will be trade for a scorer to replace the retiring Teemu for long enough to get Bobby Ryan up to speed.

Though, there is probably enough cap room to get Giguere and Selanne both back. . .

In any event, if Giguere is smart, he'll take not a hometown discount, but a stats playing behind Pronger and Niedermayer discount, for the duration of their deals or one of them, and then try to cash in after that. That would be my advise to him.

I got all worked up reading about him going to the Kings, but, in the end, who cares? We won the Cup. I'd like to see them defend it, but, at the end of the day, they can blow this team up and skate the Portland Pirates and the Cup is still in Anaheim.

Earl Sleek said...

...but, in the end, who cares? We won the Cup. I'd like to see them defend it, but, at the end of the day, they can blow this team up and skate the Portland Pirates and the Cup is still in Anaheim.

Well, as a guy who's blogging about the team, I probably care. I can't just write about G5 forever. :)

Ian said...

The "you have to lose before you can win" is a tough one, because it seems to me equally true that you lose before you lose even more. Or in the Sharks case, you lose before you retool the roster to win, and then you lose again, similarly. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Or maybe a more accurate way of putting it is, every team in the league has been losers at some point, so the phrase is meaningless.

When did Tampa lose before they won? When they were a sucky team for a long time? When they lost in the second round the year before they won the Cup? Does a second round loss count?

How about the Avalanche/Nordiques? They lost in the 1st round the year before they won the Cup.

Everybody loses every year (except one team), and it's what you do with it that counts. So, the Ducks made the right adjustments, and made it to the top this year.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, Ian, it's not the strongest truth in the world. But if you look at Ottawa vs. Anaheim in the finals, you did get to see a team that had never been there against a team that had a lot of its members lose there before, and I think the experience showed.

I would be very wary if there were a rematch of the same two teams next year--I think Ottawa learns some key lessons from this year and makes its adjustments.

But true, there's a lot of holes in the saying.

initself said...

I wanna see you piss yourself in joy.

Anonymous said...

i hope sammy stays a duck forever too. go sammy! go perry! go ducks!

Joe said...

I can't believe someone else named their dog Teemu. My husky is named Teemu Selanne (now 10 years old) She had a sister, also a husky named Teppo Numminen who passed away three years ago. Teppo never got to raise the cup but at least my Teemu got to see the finish flash raise the cup