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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ducks Gameday—Wait, we gotta open the North American season too?!

Anaheim Ducks (1-1-0, t-1st in west) at Detroit Red Wings (0-0-0, t-3rd in west)

So, after starting the year in London, the Ducks now move on to a stretch of four straight home openers (including their own), all within the next week. They'll open Joe Louis Arena tonight, Nationwide Arena on Friday, Mellon Arena on Saturday, and Honda Center a week from now. I made the table below to demonstrate this (distances calculated using this site). For the first six games, the Ducks will travel an average of 1,945 miles per game.

Date

OpponentLocationDistance Traveled

Sep. 29-30

Kings

London, ENG

5,454 miles

Oct. 3

Red Wings

Detroit, MI

3,762 miles

Oct. 5

Blue Jackets

Columbus, OH

165 miles

Oct. 6

Penguins

Pittsburgh, PA

162 miles

Oct. 10

Bruins

Anaheim, CA

2,124 miles

12 days6 games5 cities

11,667 miles


I'm not whining about it, necessarily, but I'm not getting my hopes up too much either. Last year, the Ducks had only 3 regulation losses in their first 34 games; this year they'll have to work their tailfeathers off to avoid having 3 in their first 6.

As for tonight, why not get this gauntlet started with good old Detroit? The Ducks franchise has made the playoffs five times, and four of those times they've met up with the Red Wings. They're as drawn together as the this blog is to lame humor. Speaking of which, here's one of my favorite graphics from this last spring's series:


Nice smash, Mario!

If my pal Damndaze is any indication, Red Wings fans hate the Ducks a ton--but I'm still unsure where the rivalry ranks among the Avs, Stars, and the rest. They hate J.S. Giguere for sweeping them in 2003. They hate Chris Pronger for eliminating them in 2006 and elbowing them in 2007. They hate Scott Niedermayer for his fluke goal off Lidstrom's stick to tie the game late in regulation of G5. They hate Teemu Selanne for finding a puck alone with Hasek in G5 overtime and roofing a backhand over the squirrely Czech. And they really hate that G5 was arguably the one game that decided the Cup. Even after that, they hate that the Ducks nabbed Schneider and Bertuzzi, who Damndaze at least thought were going to sign homer deals with Ken Holland.

So count on a motivated Wings crowd tonight--one that might like to demonstrate how a G5 might have gone without a Scott Niedermayer and without a Teemu Selanne. Also, this time they can enjoy the fact that Mathieu Schneider's injury tests the Ducks' depth instead of the Wings'.

Aw, but here's one semi-encouraging stat for the Ducks: in 10 games against the Ducks (regular season and playoffs), the Red Wings scored 12 power play goals. Scott Niedermayer was on the ice for 11 of those. Chris Pronger was on the ice for zero; the last power play goal the Red Wings have scored with Pronger on the ice was scored on Dwayne Roloson.

Also worth noting: in 10 games against Detroit, Dustin Penner had 0 goals and 0 assists. That seems replaceable enough.

Prediction: Ducks 3, Red Wings 2. Goals by the three Ryans: Getzlaf, Carter, and Bobby. I don't even really know who the Ducks will be playing in net, but with 3 games in 4 nights, it's probably a good thing that Bryzgalov, Hiller, and Giguere are all possibilities.

Go Ducks.

9 comments:

mcfed/damndaze said...

Here is some fun for you Dewdrops courtesy of our pal Ddaze. A quote from Brian Burke on the signing of Dustin Penner by the Oilers, a direct shot of Kevin Lowe.

"If I had run my team into the sewer like that I wouldn't throw a grenade at the other 29 teams and my own indirectly,"

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, no kidding. You can see typical Oilfan reactions here and here.

I don't have a lot of reaction to it--I've stopped being "surprised" at Burke's open mouth a long time ago. Still, there is a lot of posting on the internet these days to the tune of "stop whining, Burke"; I think I'd find them more compelling if they weren't whinier in tone than Burke himself.

andrew said...

Is Giguere really ready to suit up? That was quick.

Earl Sleek said...

Is Giguere really ready to suit up?

Probably not. I don't really know, nobody's saying very much, but he has gone through a full practice yesterday.

I'd guess Bryzgalov tonight, but I wouldn't put a whole lot of money on it. There's three goalies with a compelling reason to start.

Kelpfreak said...

Earl,

I was reading your comment string at BoA regarding Burke's latest jackassery and saw the old "no such thing as hockey fans in California" cliche again. Maybe you should post a "These fans are a THEORY not a FACT and should be considered critically" tag on the banner a la Kansas high-school biology textbooks...

Earl Sleek said...

To be fair, there aren't any hockey fans in California, if by that you mean that we don't start pulling out our hair and scream bloody murder when somebody slights Burke's summer.

iwocpo said...

Morning Earl. Good game. Bryzgalovitovasimov looked good. Pronger looked like the lumbering piece of garbage we've come to hate and Getzlaf is going to be a star.

2000 empty seats at the Joe. Pathetic.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I can't say I'm dissatisfied with the point. Breezy was a stud--that's for sure.

As for the Wings, Lidstrom was a monster; he probably held the puck in the offensive zone eight times where I was really impressed. And on the PP, Zetterberg and Holmstrom were lights-out.

As for losing the shootout, well what else was I to expect? The Ducks have now lost the most shootouts in the league (18) since it was introduced.

2000 empty seats at the Joe. Pathetic.

Well, fortunately I'm not one to press too hard on things like that. Also fortunate is that 99.9% of Anaheim was probably watching the Angels, so it probably escaped most people's notice.

I will say though I was SHOCKED at the lack of booing towards Pronger. Who would have thought it would have subsided after his elbow to Homer last spring? Hell, Bertuzzi got more boos, so far as I could tell.

hockeychic said...

I agree Earl, it did seem like Bert was greeted with more boos. Bryzgalov saved the Ducks quite a few times last night.