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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ducks Gameday—Finally, a WCF rematch

Anaheim Ducks (30-22-7, 4th in west) at Detroit Red Wings (41-11-5, 1st in west)

I really don't know what to believe on the Sammy Pahlsson injury front; we've been told he's coming back any day for a month-and-a-half now. Still, a return is entirely possible this afternoon, and it would mark the first time this season that the entire A-Team would play a game together.

If so, the Ducks would be complete. And even though tonight represents the fourth and final game of the Red Wings season series, it has a strong feel of first rematch. For the first time this afternoon, Detroit will have a chance to avenge a close WCF loss to a complete Ducks roster—a team with all its wayward superstars finally reunited again.

We all remember the last thing Teemu Selanne did in Joe Louis Arena, right?

All year, the Chief at A2Y has been maintaining, probably with more faith than I've shown, that the west will come down to the Wings and "the Fowl" this spring. For a while, that seemed a bit foolish to say, as the Ducks floundered aimlessly for stretches, but as the plan has come together, it's not so far-fetched as it once was. Certainly it's still a longshot—there are lots of teams in the west to be wary of—but if both teams play to their potential, it would be one hell of a series.

More to come on that later this spring, perhaps?

Prediction: Not only will this be a good measuring-stick game, it's also going to be a big statement game. The Red Wings have such a crazy lead in the west that there's not too much left to play for in the regular season, so revenge might be a powerful motivator. Still, the Ducks are rolling. Three Ducks in particular that have impressed the last couple of games: Selanne, Schneider, and Giguere. Anyways, Ducks win 4-2. Goals by the A-Team (why not? It's NBC.): Niedermayer, Pronger, Pahlsson, and Selanne.

Go Ducks.


Earl Sleek said...

FYI: As usual, Matt Saler has a pretty comprehensive preview up at On the Wings.

VeryProudofYa said...

I'd just like to say that I really don't like Kunitz on the line with Getzlaf and Perry. I know he scored the other day, but lately it seems like he either completely whiffs on shots, or he shoots it 8 feet wide, or he shoots when there's an awesome passing lane available.

I dunno, normally I'm a big fan of Kunitz, but just lately he's been looking like he's a tad off the mark.

Also, during a line change Bert-Getlaf-Selanne had the puck in the Devil's zone for a stretch, and while nobody can completely pass judgment on such a miniscule sample, I thought the line looked pretty good for those twenty seconds.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, conversely I'm not sure I'm that satisfied with Bertuzzi & Weight as linemates for Selanne. It's really two guys who are almost never looking to shoot, and thus it becomes easier to defend Selanne as the only real shot threat. Either Bertuzzi needs to take more shots during play (which I've kind of been hoping for all year), or it should be Kunitz and Weight. At least that way there's at least one other forward that isn't afraid to take a shot.

VeryProudofYa said...

Of course the day I find it necessary to share my thoughts, Kunitz draws an even-up call, then frees the puck from Osgood and sets up a goal.

and Kent Huskins is just insane.

Earl Sleek said...

And don't forget Carter. This kid has scored 3 goals in the last two games, and I'd call all of them "Selanne-ish". Maybe Teemu's giving him shooting tips during practice?

RudyKelly said...

Haha, this should be fun.

Also, say what you want about the Ducks, but I'd want them on my side if I were in a brawl.

Earl Sleek said...

Attention all Red Wing fans who want to come here and complain about the phantom goalie interference: You're right. That was a bullshit call.

Still, unlucky for you, I happened to watch the Red Wings-Avalanche game last week. Quite literally, what goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

don't forget the phantom tripping call that led to that power play in the 1st place.

Anonymous said...

This is hockeychic here - Earl you're right, what goes around comes around. I found myself really missing Schneider which is not something I have thought much about this season. I thought the game was badly officiated all the way through but I'm not here to whine about that. I think we have the makings of a good rivalry on our hands...

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, Schneider's been impressing the hell out of me lately. Since Niedermayer's return, here's some point totals on the blueline:

Scott Niedermayer: 3-10-13, -2
Chris Pronger: 6-6-12, even
Mathieu Schneider: 4-8-12, +12

Matt's definitely playing easier minutes, but he's also missed two games while keeping points-pace.

I think we have the makings of a good rivalry on our hands...

When do the Ducks replace the Avalanche as the Red Wings' arch-nemesis? Has it already happened, is it close to happening, or is it impossible?

Anonymous said...

Hockeychic here - Earl, I don't know, it some ways I don't think the Avs/Red Wings thing will ever completely die out. I think it is stronger with the fans though since the Avs haven't beaten the Wings in the playoffs recently. I think the Ducks are the Wings arch-nemisis. But maybe that is just me and my anti-Pronger bias coming through. My anti-Pronger bias goes back to his days with the Blues and of course his role in the undoing of the Wings in the playoffs when he was an Oiler helps too.

Didn't notice Selanne much in today's game. Thanks for the nice reminder pic, there Earl. OUCH.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, it probably has something to do with fanbases, too. We might not be despicable enough in Anaheim, though we all have our share of idiots.

Selanne was quiet because he's one point behind Kariya for all-time scoring and wants to catch him in front of the home fans.