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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ducks Gameday—Like taking candy from a Blackhawk

Anaheim Ducks (38-23-7, 3rd in west) at Chicago Blackhawks (32-28-6, t-11th in west)

The table below shows all of Anaheim's 14 western conference opponents (plus a 15th group, the eastern conference), and the Ducks' regular season record against each opponent since the NHL lockout. Essentially, this list represents which teams the Ducks have most easily taken points against, and you can see that Chicago sits way way atop this list.

(Click image to enlarge)

The Blackhawks, as I've heard time and time again, are a young improving team, so I guess someday soon I'm going to miss this era where the Ducks show up and automatically collect two points. Not too soon, I hope. Chicago has been Anaheim's best boost for offense, defense, and penalty killing.

Some other comments about this opponent table:
  • Oh yeah, now I remember why I hate the Stars. The Ducks have only beaten the Stars seven times since the lockout. To put that in perspective, they have beaten five non-divisional opponents that many times over the same stretch. By my eye, the problem for the Ducks has been perpetual puck-chasing. Anaheim loves dumping in pucks and retrieving, but they don't get to do much retrieving against Dallas and crazy Turco. Oddly, I think I've been to two Stars games since the lockout and the Ducks won 'em both (including one in a shootout where Carlyle threw out Jonathan Hedstrom and Rob Niedermayer, if you can believe it).

  • As for the rest of the Pacific, you guys are all right. Of Anaheim's five favorite western opponents, three sit nearby in the Pacific Division, which is particularly sweet when playing in a division-heavy schedule. I don't get the sense that this one-sidedness will last terribly long for the Ducks, though. The Sharks are bound to get their shit together at some point, and the Kings can't possibly get worse (uh, right, Rudy?). The Coyotes have already turned a corner; they've won more games against Anaheim this year than they had the previous two years combined, which really speaks to the Chicago-like stranglehold the Ducks once held over Gretzky's bunch.

  • Sure, why not have more interconference games? On principle, I am against having more east-west games. Since opposite-conference teams do not compete on the same standings, I find these games to be less compelling. Sure both teams want to win and get the two points, but there isn't any urgency to keep the opponent from getting a point also. In east-west games, getting to overtime is a win-win proposition, and I don't think that's a good incentive for the league to build on. Still, I guess I can understand fans wanting to see distant players (though I generally see players better on TV than in person), and I'm not the guy who has to do the extra traveling, so sure, NHL. Have it your way. From the looks of things, the Ducks are better off playing extra games against the east (especially Ottawa, apparently) than they are against anyone in the Northwest Division.
There's about another week of "loose end" opponents before the Ducks break into full Pacific mode, and frankly, I can't wait. The storylines have been brewing since Christmas. The Ducks are supercharged with Niedermayer and Selanne, and the Sharks are hitting stride with Campbell and re-emerging forces in Cheechoo and Marleau. The Stars got past both those teams without Zubov or Boucher, and now they've added millionaire Brad Richards to a formidable roster. The Coyotes are howling for that eighth seed and some '06-style Bryzgalov postseason magic, and the Kings are flat-out determined to fuck up somebody's seed. A Pacific Division Finale seems an awesome way to end this year—selfishly, from a BoC perspective, who says the schedule needs fixing?

Prediction: My commuting life sucks this week, and I probably won't get to watch tonight's or tomorrow's game until probably Friday. Don't worry about spoiling anything; I'll be informed enough to know the score. If anyone wants to let me know their game impressions, though, I'd be glad to read 'em. Oh as for the game prediction, let's call it a tight one. After all, Chicago is a young improving team. Ducks 4, Hawks 3. Goals by Beauchemin*, Getzlaf, Pahlsson, and May. As a bonus, Bryan Murray gets ejected from the game for trethpathing.

Go Duckth.

* My latest craze is to yell, "Take THAT, Bergeron!" any time a Duck blueliner scores a goal. Or even if there's a good shot on net. It turns out I'm yelling that phrase quite a bit, actually—I've also incorporated it into my video game lingo and used it while driving in SoCal traffic.


RudyKelly said...

I like playing Eastern teams if only because it makes them have to travel more.

And no, the Kings can't get any worse, but they're also never going to get better. Never.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad karma for the Ducks. Are the Kings really determined to mess up somebody's seed? I guess with the way they have been losing, that gives them enough padding to beat all their Pacific Division rivals and still wind up with the best lottery pick. The Kings will get better. Sharks and Ducks sucked for years before getting to where they are now. Maybe not 40 years, but the concept is the same.

Earl Sleek said...

I feel bad karma for the Ducks.

Yeah, I'm probably responsible for that. Anytime it seems I start bragging about some Anaheim streak, it usually ends the first chance it gets.

See the Phoenix post I linked to above. Sixteen games without a regulation loss, but as soon as I brought it up it was over.

Anonymous said...

It will be nice if the Kings do get that lotery pick, I just hope Dean does not pick someone like Hickey again. Granted the jury is still out on him, but if the diabolicle plan is to pick a guy rated in the mid-second round, trade the first rounder and then get your "sleeper" where he should be picked.

Itlan said...

Go Duckth.
I guess I'm not the only one who thinks Murray used to do voice work on the side while was here for Daffy Duck... Only, that's the WB, not Disney.

We're both going to hell...

Bryan said...

So the Ducks have yet to beat Phoenix this year? Or did i read that wrong.

Ducks happen to be in the best division which makes divisional play exciting. And even though the Kings suck, the games are fun. Imagine being in the Southeast division and seeing the same crappy teams over and over again. But even with a great divison I still would like Crosby and Ovechkin to come to Anaheim once a year. It's better for the league in general.

Earl Sleek said...

So the Ducks have yet to beat Phoenix this year? Or did i read that wrong.

The Ducks are 1-1-3 against PHX this year (meaning the Dogs have won 4 of the 5). Anaheim won a 5-2 decision in Phoenix on November 3rd.

The previous two seasons, the Coyotes managed a total of three wins in sixteen tries with Anaheim.

Anonymous said...

tahnks earl you ending the streak

Earl Sleek said...

I'll take full credit and full blame for this one, but seriously, who really wants to win 12 of 13 games? Doesn't the winning get dull after a little while?

Stars lost, so I guess I'm just a hair outside of indifference.

Was the fighting cool? What the hell happened with Bertuzzi and/or Parros in the 1st?

VeryProudofYa said...

Goddamn you, Earl.

Anonymous said...

Earl "Shleprock" Sleek

-Mike in OC

Earl Sleek said...

Remember, I haven't seen a lick of this game--was it really that bad?

And if I carry the blame for this loss, do I get some sort of credit for when the team wins?

Mike in OC said...

Sure why not.

How about a Dallas jinx next, can you crash other teams streaks against us?

BTW, I watched the first 2 periods before I had to go to my game. The Parros fight is worth watching. Way to stickup for the capitan.

Anonymous said...

How about the Sharks and Ducks just let Dallas win the division, and wind up in 4th and 5th place. We could FINALLY get a true battle of California. Then again you could always change the blog to battleofthePacific. That way the Ducks or Sharks could take the Pacific from Dallas who gets dropped to 4th/5th and we'd get a first round BOtP to honor the name change.